FEC OIG-- Audit of Commission Travel for Fiscal Year 1995: Executive Summary

Federal Election Commission

Office of Inspector General -- Audit Report

Audit of Commission Travel for Fiscal Year 1995: Executive Summary

May 20, 1996

If you require the entire printed version of the audit report, contact the Office of Inspector General, Federal Election Commission, 999 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20463 or call Dorothy Maddox-Holland, Special Assistant, phone: (202) 694-1015, fax: (202) 501-8134, or e-mail: dmaddox@fec.gov.
Executive Summary

This report presents the results of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Office of Inspector General audit of non-local travel activity for Fiscal Year (FY) 1995. The primary objectives of our audit were to: (1) ensure that adequate internal controls over travel activities are in place and operating effectively; (2) evaluate the Commission's use of travel funds for economy and effectiveness; and (3) evaluate the budgeting process of travel activities for proper management of Commission funds.

The FEC expended $245,115 for non-local travel in FY 1995 for a total of 255 trips by Commission employees and invitational travel sponsored by the FEC. Travel expenditures for FY 1995 accounted for approximately 3.5 % of operating costs, excluding personnel related costs. The purposes of Commission travel are varied, including audits, training, conferences, depositions, investigations, and recruiting.

Our audit work covered non-local travel for Fiscal Year (FY) 1995 (October 1, 1994 -- September 30, 1995). When it was impractical to review all elements in a universe subject to audit, we used a random sample of non-local travel for FY 1995. The audit field work was conducted between December 1995 and March 1996, in accordance with the General Accounting Office's Government Auditing Standards, and included such auditing procedures as was considered necessary.

As part of our internal control review of Commission travel, we verified that the travel documents (Travel Authorization, Travel Advance, and Travel Voucher) were authorized, properly approved, and calculated correctly. In addition, we reviewed the travel documents for compliance with the Federal Travel Regulations. We also reviewed the internal controls of the American Express Government charge card program.

Our audit revealed several internal control weaknesses and are detailed in the Audit Findings and Recommendations section of this report. None of the weaknesses were the result of a lack of federal reporting requirements or generally accepted accounting principles.

The Commission's travel activity was evaluated for economy and effectiveness based on the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) and OMB Bulletin 93-11, Fiscal Responsibility and Reducing Perquisites. Our review of Commission travel included the following: purpose of travel, type of accommodations, utilization of discounted contract airfare, and the reasonableness of the number of staff attending conferences or training. Overall, we found Commission travel was performed in an economical and effective manner.

Evaluation of the budgeting process of Commission travel funds was performed in accordance with FEC Directive 46, Commission Budget and Planning Process, 12/14/82, and as amended, 2/4/84. Specifically, we verified compliance with the procedures for re- allocation of budgeted travel funds. Directive 46 provides a detailed description of the Commission's budget and planning process, and the policy and procedures to be followed by the Commission. Directive 46, Section VI, as amended, contains the procedures to be followed for the re-allocation of budgeted funds. Directive 46 requires that inter-divisional reallocations of less than $5,000 be made by the Staff Director, and reported to the Finance Committee, and over $5,000 approved by the Commission.