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GAO, often called the "congressional watchdog,” is an independent, non-partisan agency that works for Congress. GAO examines how taxpayer dollars are spent and provides Congress and federal agencies with objective, non-partisan, fact-based information to help the government save money and work more efficiently.

For example, we identified about $70.4 billion in financial benefits for the federal government in fiscal year 2023—a return of approximately $84 for every dollar invested. GAO’s average return on investment for the past 6 years is $133 to $1. We also identified 1,220 other benefits that led to program and operational improvements across the government. To learn more, read our press release about our fiscal year 2023 performance.

Our Mission

We support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities, and help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government. We provide Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, nonideological, and balanced.

Download our About GAO brochure (PDF) in EnglishSpanishFrench, or Arabic.

Our Authority

The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 formed GAO to investigate all matters related to the use of public funds. The act also requires us to report on our findings and recommend ways to increase economy and efficiency in government spending.