When enforcing regulations, federal agencies use fines to punish willful violators and to deter future violations. However, if these fines aren't regularly adjusted for inflation, they may become less effective as a deterrent. Congress enacted the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 partly to address this issue. In 2015, Congress amended the act to require GAO to annually review agencies' compliance with certain provisions.
This year, we found that the majority of the 48 agencies that could be subject to the act published the 2021 inflation adjustment in the Federal Register and their Agency Financial Reports.
What GAO Found
In this sixth annual review, GAO found that the majority of federal agencies that could be subject to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended (IAA), have published 2021 civil monetary penalty inflation adjustments in the Federal Register and reported related information in their 2021 or 2020 agency financial reports (AFR) or equivalent. However, one agency did not publish the inflation adjustment in the Federal Register as of December 31, 2021, and did not report the required information in its 2021 AFR for its civil monetary penalty.
Why GAO Did This Study
The IAA includes a provision, added in 2015, requiring GAO to annually submit to Congress a report assessing agencies' compliance with the annual inflation adjustments required by the act. This is the sixth annual report responding to this requirement.
For more information, contact Paula M. Rascona at (202) 512-9816 or email@example.com.