This year, we celebrated our 100th anniversary. Throughout 2021, we have shared our story—including our history as an agency; the role of GAO during times of national crisis; and some of our key, reoccurring reports that analyze federal government spending and performance.
Today we’ll hear from those who have led GAO in its work—our current leader and the Comptroller General of the United States Gene L. Dodaro, and his predecessors David M. Walker and Charles A. Bowsher. In the videos below, they each share stories of their time at GAO and the role the agency has played.
Gene L. Dodaro became the eighth Comptroller General of the United States and head of GAO in December 2010. He had been serving as Acting Comptroller General since 2008. During his time in office so far, the nation faced two historic crises—the Great Recession and the coronavirus pandemic. In response to these crises, Congress approved historic levels of spending to help counter their effects. GAO was tasked with monitoring the federal responses to these crises, recommending ways to improve these responses, and providing lessons learned for future crises.
David M. Walker served as the seventh Comptroller General of the United States and head of GAO from 1998 to 2008. During his time in office, Walker increased focus on the nation’s fiscal health issues—including U.S. debt and the deficit. He also introduced several internal reforms to GAO, including changing the agency’s name in 2003 from the General Accounting Office to the Government Accountability Office—a renaming that reflected our evolving role in monitoring federal programs.
Charles A. Bowsher served as the sixth Comptroller General from 1981 to 1996. Under Bowsher, congressional requests increased to 70% of the agency's workload. At Bowsher's direction, GAO was among the first to raise a red flag about the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. Bowsher also advocated for stronger federal financial management, which resulted in Congress’s passage of the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990.
Learn more about our history and work by visiting GAO.gov.
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