Last evening, Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) introduced the DHS Audit Requirement Target (DART) Act, which would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to obtain and pass full audits for its financial statements, with the required audit dates established in law.
"As we work to trim budgets and reduce deficits, agencies across the federal government must improve their financial management practices to avoid squandering precious taxpayer resources," said Sen. Carper. "Moreover, agencies need to establish a culture of thrift. They need to look at every nook and cranny of federal spending and see if we can do more with less. The Department of Homeland Security, a massive agency charged with keeping Americans safe, is no exception. This legislation helps address one of the agency's key management problems, namely that it doesn't have financial systems in place so that basic transactions can be transparent and financial records properly maintained. Keeping track of Homeland Security's finances is a key step in reining in and preventing waste and fraud at the department."
"The fact that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has never successfully passed an audit is an insult to taxpayers. Despite being labeled 'high risk' by the Government Accountability Office for the last eight years, DHS continues to spend tens of billions of taxpayer dollars without meeting basic accounting standards," said Sen. Brown. "As Americans are tightening their belts and stretching every dollar to get by, the federal government must exhibit the same discipline in its oversight of how hard-earned tax dollars are spent. The DART Act aims to implement the foundations of financial responsibility at DHS, and if passed, could expose a number of ways for the Department to trim its budget."
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) continues to find that DHS financial management is at a high risk for waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement. Moreover, the DHS has never been able to conduct a department-wide audit despite the clear requirement to do so by the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990. Passing a financial audit by 2016, with earlier milestones laid out in law, are important requirements that should be established by Congress.