Lexis Advance

  • Legal research made faster and easier. Easily get more relevant results from leading legal industry sources delivered efficiently through cutting-edge online technology.

    Access the Lexis Advance® Support site to make the most of your Lexis Advance subscription.

Lexis® for Microsoft® Office

  • The comprehensive research and drafting tool right within the programs you use every day.

LexisNexis® Digital Library

  • Open the doors to your law library 24/7 with mobile access to primary law, deskbooks, code books, treatises and more.

Zimmerman's Research Guide


Government Accountability Office (GAO)

The GAO "is the investigative arm of Congress. Charged with examining matters relating to the receipt and disbursement of public funds, GAO performs audits and evaluations of Government programs and activities." The GAO was called the "General Accounting Office" until July 7, 2004 when the name was changed to the "Government Accountability Office."

The GAO Web site posts GAO reports, testimony, rules, selected publications and information about the GAO - plus some surprising extras, such as indexes and a way to request assistance researching GAO materials.

For information and ordering GAO publications, check out the Web site and/or call the GAO at 202-512-6000.

Reports: GAO reports are available through the GAO's Reports and Testimony page from 1955 to the present, plus one each from 1937, 1950 and 1954. They are also available on Lexis (NEWS;GAO) and www.westlaw.com (GAO-RPTS) from 1994 to the present. An archive of GAO reports covering 1994 to 2008 is posted on FDsys. To search for older reports, use the Library of Congress catalog, using "United States General Accounting Office" and/or "United States Government Accountability Office" as the author.

Comptroller General Decisions: The Comptroller General issues decisions in a number of areas including bid protests and appropriations cases. Bid protests are filed by government contractors "who believe that contracts have been, or are about to be, awarded in violation of the laws and regulations that govern contracting with the federal government." Appropriations cases concern whether public funds can be used for specific grants and government contracts.

Current sources for Comptroller General decisions include:

  1. The GAO web site Search page. Contains published and most unpublished decisions from 1890 to the Present (free);
  2. Lexis (GENFED;COMGEN). Published decisions 1921-Present and unpublished decisions 1951-Present;
  3. Westlaw (CG). Published decisions 1921-Present and unpublished decisions 1955-Present, plus some earlier unpublished decisions;
  4. The CCH Government Contracts Reporter has Comptroller General Decisions; Published decisions, 1986-Present (subscription). The Reporter is available on CD-ROM or through Lexis (CCHGOV;CCHGCR), Westlaw (CCH-GCR) and the CCH's subscription-based Intelliconnect platform.

Additional sources for older Comptroller General decisions include:

  1. The print Decisions of the Comptroller General of the United States was the print source for reported CG decisions. Covers 1921-1994 (search Worldcat to find holding libraries);
  2. The "U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, and Appeals" collection on HeinOnline has Decisions of the Comptroller General of the United States in PDF format. Volumes 1-73, covering 1921-1994 (subscription);
  3. The GPO's FDsys, Published decisions 1993-2008 (free). In the Advanced Search, choose "GAO Reports and Comptroller General Decisions."

You can KeyCite Comptroller General decisions on Westlaw to find related CG decisions and judicial opinions.

The GAO published comprehensive lists of Comptroller General Opinions in 2007. For more information, see Michael Ravnitzky's article, GAO Releases Database of Comptroller General Decisions.

See Also
Government Contracts

For comments, questions and suggestions, email the author
Copyright 2015 Andrew Zimmerman