Chris Dorobek’s blog is proving really useful! He’s highlighted a GAO report about DHS’s use of shared services, and notes that GAO has come to quite alarming conclusions:
“the legal principles are clear. [DHS] officials stated that the directorate pooled funds from programs within its various appropriations to fund crosscutting services benefiting the directorate as a whole. This sharing of funds across appropriation accounts, in effect, constitutes a transfer between appropriations”
“In general, unless authorized by law, transfers of funds between agency appropriation accounts are prohibited by law”
Oops. This goes back to Congress’s annoyance with the e‑gov programs as a whole which (quite legitimately) want agencies to stop duplicating systems and processes and start consolidating them. To do so requires money but Congress sees inter-agency transfers as taking away their power of allocating money where they believe it should be spent. However, this is the first time I’ve seen anyone say outright that this activity is illegal.
I’ve no idea how OMB will react to this, or whether they’ll react at all, and what impact it may have on the Lines of Business initiatives. What do you think?