U.S. Reps who are also CPAs call for Comptroller General to be a CPA too

A bipartisan effort has resulted in legislation that could require the next comptroller general to be a CPA.

Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, introduced the legislation calling for the head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to be a CPA with significant experience in government, auditing, and accounting, according to the Federal Times.

Peterson and Conaway are both CPAs. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) supports the move and applauded Peterson and Conaway for their foresight in introducing the legislation on a bipartisan basis.

“Taxpayers are rightly demanding ever-increasing accountability and transparency from the U.S. government,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon. “It is essential that the comptroller general have the education, skills, background, training, and discipline of a CPA.”

The comptroller general serves a 15-year term. According to the AICPA, the comptroller general position has been vacant since March 2008 when former Comptroller General David Walker, who is a CPA, resigned to become president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. The previous comptroller general, Charles Bowsher, also is a CPA. Bowsher was appointed in 1981 and served a full term of 15 years. To ensure the position’s independence from political influence, the comptroller general cannot be recalled from office except by act of Congress.

The acting comptroller general is Gene Dodaro, who is not a CPA but he has a bachelor's degree in accounting from Williamsport, Pennsylvania's Lycoming College. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a member of the Association of Government Accountants.

The GAO states that its mission is to support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people.

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