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Government Information Research Guide

Follow the Money!

'Green Book'(latest official version)
Where?

Why?

  • Allows searching for keywords, bill numbers, subjects, sponsor, etc.
  • Includes Congressional reports.
  • Provides bill summaries and status.
  • Can search through Congressional Record (verbatim transcript of congressional activity).


Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
Where?

Why?

  • Provides a description of all government domestic programs.
  • Lists enabling legislation.
  • Describes the mechanics of getting funded.
  • Includes the names and addresses of program grant managers.
  • Bibliography of appropriate federal regulations.


Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports
Where?

  • Formerly known as the General Accounting Office, Olin Library Government Publications (SuDocs number GA 1.13) has over 10,000 reports in paper and microfiche from 1980.
  • Click for online fulltext access from 1994.
  • Free copies are available upon request from the agency. Delivery takes 2 weeks.

Why?

In-depth studies of the efficiency, effectiveness, and cost-benefit analysis of government social programs.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
Where?

Why?

Like GAO, the agency examines the financial impact of legislation. OMB reports to the President.

U.S. Inspectors General
Where?

Inspectors General Directory

Why?

The Inspector Generals are responsible for evaluating the performance of programs administered by their agencies. They make semiannual reports to Congress on their overall activity and publish numerous other reports. You can also compare Inspector General reports with those issued by the GAO.

Budget of the United States
Where?

Why?

This is the budget as prepared by the Executive Branch. It generally does not detail the budget for each and every program, but it does give the overall picture of government spending and priorities.


Economic Report of the President
Where?

Why?

The Constitution requires the President to report information to Congress 'from time to time'. Today, we know these reports as the State of the Union Address and the Economic Report of the President.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests
Where? Why?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was passed by Congress in 1966 and amended in 1974. FOIA creates procedures whereby any member of the public may obtain the records of the executive agencies of the federal government. Therefore, each agency has its own FOIA office.

Non-Profit Organization Management
Where? Why?

Non-profit organizations reveal much about their sources of income and outlays through their IRS Form 990 filings. Guidestar (below) makes these filings available through their website.

Guidestar