Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I congratulate the Mauritian people on their 54th anniversary of their independence.
As a fellow multi-cultural democracy, the United States values our bilateral relationship which is built on shared democratic principles, respect for human rights, and care for the environment. The United States applauds the Mauritian government’s focus on strengthening financial systems to support the global community in fighting illicit finance.
Best wishes to the Mauritian people on this special day.
- Democracy Assistance: U.S. Agencies Take Steps to Coordinate International Programs but Lack Information on Some U.S.-funded Activities
August 24, 2021In fiscal years 2006- 2008, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which has primary responsibility for promoting democracy abroad, implemented democracy assistance projects in about 90 countries. The Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (State DRL) and the private, nonprofit National Endowment for Democracy (NED) also fund democracy programs in many of these countries. Partly to lessen the risk of duplicative programs, State recently initiated efforts to reform and consolidate State and USAID foreign assistance processes. GAO reviewed (1) democracy assistance funding provided by USAID, State DRL, and NED in fiscal year 2008; (2) USAID, State DRL, and NED efforts to coordinate their democracy assistance; and (3) USAID efforts to assess results and evaluate the impact of its democracy assistance. GAO analyzed U.S. funding and evaluation documents, interviewed USAID, State, and NED officials in the United States and abroad, and reviewed specific democracy projects in 10 countries.Data available from State show total democracy assistance allocations of about $2.25 billion for fiscal year 2008. More than $1.95 billion, or about 85 percent of the total allocation, was provided to field-based operating units, primarily country missions. Although complete data on USAID funding per country were not available, USAID mission data, compiled by State and USAID at GAO’s request, show that in a sample of 10 countries, most democracy funds are programmed by USAID. In the 10 countries, annual funding per project averaged more than $2 million for USAID, $350,000 for State DRL, and $100,000 for NED. In fiscal year 2008, more than half of State funding for democracy assistance went to Iraq, followed by China, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea, and NED funding for democracy programs was highest for China, Iraq, Russia, Burma, and Pakistan. USAID and State DRL coordinate to help ensure complementary assistance but are often not aware of NED grants. To prevent duplicative programs, State DRL obtains feedback from USAID missions and embassies on project proposals before awarding democracy assistance grants. State DRL officials generally do not participate in USAID missions’ planning efforts; some State and USAID officials told GAO that geographic distances between State DRL’s centrally managed program and USAID’s country mission-based programs would make such participation difficult. Several USAID and State DRL officials responsible for planning and managing democracy assistance told GAO that they lacked information on NED’s current projects, which they believed would help inform their own programming decisions. Although NED is not required to report on all of its democracy assistance efforts to State and there currently is no mechanism for regular information sharing, NED told GAO that it has shared information with State and USAID and would routinely provide them with information on current projects if asked. USAID uses standard and custom indicators to assess and report on immediate program results; USAID also conducts some, but relatively infrequent, independent evaluations of longer-term programs. The standard indicators, developed by State, generally focus on numbers of activities or immediate results of a program, while custom indicators measure additional program results. USAID commissions a limited number of independent evaluations of program impact. USAID mission officials told GAO that they did not conduct many independent evaluations of democracy assistance because of the resources involved in the undertaking and the difficulty of measuring impact in the area of democracy assistance. In response to a 2008 National Research Council report on USAID’s democracy evaluation capacity, USAID has reported initiating several steps–for example, designing impact evaluations for six missions as part of a pilot program.
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken on the Modernization of American Diplomacy
October 27, 2021
- Mystery Solved: Bright Areas on Ceres Come From Salty Water Below
September 26, 2020Data from NASA’s [Read More…]
- Switzerland’s Largest Insurance Company and Three Subsidiaries Admit to Conspiring with U.S. Taxpayers to Hide Assets and Income in Offshore Accounts
May 14, 2021The Department of Justice today filed a criminal information charging Swiss Life Holding AG (Swiss Life Holding), Swiss Life (Liechtenstein) AG (Swiss Life Liechtenstein), Swiss Life (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Swiss Life Singapore), and Swiss Life (Luxembourg) S.A. (Swiss Life Luxembourg), collectively, the “Swiss Life Entities,” with conspiring with U.S. taxpayers and others to conceal from the IRS more than $1.452 billion in offshore insurance policies, including more than 1,600 insurance wrapper policies, and related policy investment accounts in banks around the world and the income generated in these accounts.
- Secretary Blinken to Deliver Remarks to the Press
September 3, 2021
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken And German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock At a Joint Press Availability
January 5, 2022
- Joint Statement on the Release of the OHCHR-EHRC Joint Investigation
November 6, 2021
- Attorney General William P. Barr Remarks at White House Roundtable on Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Human Trafficking, Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
August 4, 2020Thank you for being here. The scourge of human trafficking is the modern-day equivalent of slavery. Eradicating this horrific crime and helping its victims are top priorities for President Trump’s Administration, including the Department of Justice. I thank the President for his steadfast commitment to this issue, and I thank Ivanka for her leadership and for hosting us today. I also thank all the survivors and their advocates here for their courage and determination to end this evil practice.
- North Carolina Return Preparers Plead Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud the IRS
December 3, 2020Two Durham, North Carolina, return preparers pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin of the Middle District of North Carolina.
- Department of State Offers Reward for Information to Bring Colombian Money Launderer to Justice
October 22, 2021Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
- Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Call with Canadian Deputy Foreign Minister Morgan
February 16, 2022
- U.S. – Taiwan Working Group Meeting on International Organizations (IO Talks)
October 24, 2021
- Justice Department Obtains Over $1.5 Million from American Honda Finance Corporation to Compensate Servicemembers Whose Federal Rights Were Violated
September 29, 2021The Department of Justice announced today that American Honda Finance Corporation (AHFC) has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that it violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by failing to refund a type of up-front lease payment to servicemembers who lawfully terminated their motor vehicle leases early. Under the settlement agreement, AHFC must pay up to $1,585,803.89 in compensation to 714 servicemembers who were harmed by the alleged violations.
- Indian Health Service: Actions Needed to Improve Oversight of Provider Misconduct and Substandard Performance
December 11, 2020The Indian Health Service’s (IHS) policies related to provider misconduct and substandard performance outline several key aspects of oversight, such as protecting children against sexual abuse by providers, ethical and professional conduct, and processes for managing an alleged case of misconduct. Although the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or IHS headquarters have established most of these policies, area offices that are responsible for overseeing facility operations and facilities, such as hospitals, may develop and issue their own policies as long as they are consistent with headquarters’ policies, according to officials. Although some oversight activities are performed at IHS headquarters, IHS has delegated primary responsibility for oversight of provider misconduct and substandard performance to the area offices. However, GAO found some inconsistencies in oversight activities across IHS areas and facilities. For example, Although all nine area offices require that new supervisors attend mandatory supervisory training, most area offices provided additional trainings related to provider misconduct and substandard performance. The content of these additional trainings varied across area offices. For example, three area offices offered training on conducting investigations of alleged misconduct, while other area offices did not. Officials from IHS headquarters told GAO they do not systematically review trainings developed by the areas to ensure they are consistent with policy or IHS-wide training. Facility governing boards—made up of IHS area office officials, including the Area Director, and facility officials, such as the Chief Executive Officer—are responsible for overseeing each facility’s quality of and access to care. They generally review information related to provider misconduct and substandard performance. However, there is no standard format used by governing boards to document their review, making it difficult to determine the extent this oversight is consistently conducted. In some cases, there was no documentation by governing boards of a discussion about provider misconduct or substandard performance. For example, none of the seven governing board meeting minutes provided from one area office documented their discussion of patient complaints. In other cases, there was detailed documentation of the governing board’s review. Additionally, governing boards did not always clearly document how or why an oversight decision, such as whether to grant privileges to a provider, had been made based on their review of available information. These inconsistencies in IHS’s oversight activities could limit the agency’s efforts to oversee provider misconduct and substandard performance. For example, by not reviewing trainings developed by area offices, IHS headquarters may also be unable to identify gaps in staff knowledge or best practices that could be applied across area offices. Addressing these inconsistencies would better position the agency to effectively protect patients from abuse and harm resulting from provider misconduct or substandard performance. IHS provides care to American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) through a system of federally and tribally operated facilities. Recent cases of alleged and confirmed misconduct and substandard performance by IHS employees have raised questions about protecting the AI/AN population from abuse and harm. For example, in February 2020, a former IHS pediatrician was sentenced to five consecutive lifetime terms for multiple sex offenses against children. Several studies have been initiated or completed in response, and IHS has reported efforts to enhance safe and quality care for its patients. GAO was asked to review IHS oversight of misconduct and substandard performance. This report (1) describes IHS policies related to provider misconduct and substandard performance and (2) assesses IHS oversight of provider misconduct and substandard performance. GAO reviewed policies and documents, including minutes from 80 governing board meetings from January 2018 to December 2019. GAO also interviewed IHS officials from headquarters, all nine area offices with two or more federally operated facilities, and two federally operated facilities. GAO is making three recommendations, including that IHS should establish a process to review area office trainings as well as establish a standard approach for documenting governing board review of information. HHS concurred with these recommendations. For more information, contact Jessica Farb at (202) 512-7114 or email@example.com.
- The United States Opposes the ICC Investigation into the Palestinian Situation
March 4, 2021
- Former NGO Procurement Official Pleads Guilty to Bribery
December 23, 2020A former non-governmental organization (NGO) procurement official pleaded guilty today to paying bribes to NGO procurement officers in exchange for sensitive procurement information related to NGO contracts funded in part by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). These contracts were for the procurement of food and supplies that would ultimately be provided to those affected by various humanitarian crises, including refugees displaced by the conflict in Syria.
- Virginia Tax Preparer Sentenced to More Than Two Years in Prison for Preparing False Returns
January 4, 2021A Newport News, Virginia, tax return preparer was sentenced to 27 months in prison for preparing false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia.
- Readout of U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland’s Call with Mexico Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero
April 27, 2021More from: April 27, 2021 [Read More…]
- Justice Department Sues Northern Alabama Housing Authority and Property Owners for Housing Discrimination on the Basis of Race
December 1, 2020The Justice Department announced today that it has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Housing Authority of Ashland, Alabama, which manages seven federally funded low-income housing complexes, violated the Fair Housing Act by intentionally discriminating on the basis of race or color against applicants for housing.
- U.S. Territories: Public Debt Outlook – 2021 Update
July 1, 2021What GAO Found Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico): Puerto Rico remains in default. It has finalized three debt restructuring agreements or settlements to date, pursuant to three distinct legal approaches, and it is using one of these approaches to restructure additional debt. Puerto Rico’s total public debt outstanding as a share of Gross National Product increased slightly from 93 to 95 percent between fiscal years 2016 and 2017, the most recent year for which audited financial data are available. Puerto Rico’s total revenue remained consistent between fiscal years 2016 and 2017 at about $30.0 billion and the territory operated with a $3.1 billion deficit in fiscal year 2017. Puerto Rico’s future capacity for debt repayment depends primarily on the outcomes of the ongoing debt restructuring process, its ability to generate sustained economic growth, and the disbursement of federal funding. American Samoa: American Samoa’s total public debt outstanding as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased from 19 to 37 percent between fiscal years 2017 and 2019. This increase was partially due to a series of general revenue bonds issued in late 2018 to fund infrastructure projects. During this period, American Samoa’s yearly total revenue fluctuated but was 24 percent higher in fiscal year 2019 compared to fiscal year 2017, and the territory had a surplus of $34.0 million in fiscal year 2019. Continued reliance on a single industry and significant pension liabilities remain fiscal risks in American Samoa. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI): CNMI’s total public debt outstanding as a share of GDP remained constant at about 8 percent between fiscal years 2017 and 2019. During this period, CNMI’s yearly total revenue fluctuated but was 27 percent higher in fiscal year 2019 compared to fiscal year 2017, and the territory had a deficit of $33.3 million in fiscal year 2019. Worsening economic conditions and significant pension liabilities may affect CNMI’s future debt repayment capacity. COVID-19 has hurt tourism, CNMI’s primary industry. Guam: Guam’s total public debt outstanding as a share of GDP decreased slightly from 44 to 42 percent between fiscal years 2017 and 2019. Guam’s total revenue increased 7 percent during this period and the territory had a surplus of $112.6 million in fiscal year 2019. Guam faces fiscal risks such as COVID-19’s negative impact on tourism, Guam’s primary industry, and significant pension liabilities. United States Virgin Islands (USVI): USVI’s total public debt outstanding as a share of GDP increased slightly from 68 to 69 percent of GDP between fiscal years 2016 and 2018, the most recent year for which audited financial data are available. During this period, USVI’s yearly total revenue fluctuated but was 36 percent higher in fiscal year 2018 compared to fiscal year 2016, and the territory had a deficit of $29.4 million in fiscal year 2018. USVI’s capacity for future debt repayment may be affected by its ability to create economic growth and its ability to manage its pension liabilities and address the pending insolvency of its public pension system. USVI’s ability to create economic growth may be hampered by the adverse impact of COVID-19 on tourism, USVI’s primary industry. Why GAO Did This Study The five permanently inhabited U.S. territories–Puerto Rico, USVI, American Samoa, CNMI, and Guam–borrow through financial markets. Puerto Rico, in particular, has amassed large amounts of debt, and began to default on debt payments in 2015. In 2017, hurricanes caused widespread damage in Puerto Rico and USVI. Further, in 2018, American Samoa, CNMI, and Guam experienced typhoons and cyclones. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the territories’ economies is not yet fully known. In June 2016, Congress passed and the President signed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act. It contains a provision for GAO to review the public debt of the five territories every 2 years. In this report, for each of the five territories, GAO updates (1) trends in public debt and its composition; (2) trends in revenue and its composition, and in overall financial condition; and (3) the fiscal risk factors that affect each territory’s ability to repay public debt. GAO analyzed the territories’ single audit reports for fiscal years 2017, 2018, and 2019, as available; reviewed relevant documentation and analyses; and interviewed officials from the territories’ governments, federal agencies, and industry groups. For more information, contact Yvonne D. Jones at (202) 512-6806 or firstname.lastname@example.org or David Gootnick at (202) 512-3149 or email@example.com.