October 21, 2021

News

News Network

Sexual Assault and Harassment: NOAA Has Made Substantial Progress in Prevention and Response but Could Further Improve Its Processes

11 min read
<div>What GAO Found The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (2017 NDAA) required the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop a policy for preventing and responding to sexual assault and sexual harassment of NOAA's workforce. In response to the 2017 NDAA, NOAA issued its Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response Policy in February 2018. GAO found that this 2018 policy is consistent with most of the relevant legal requirements from the 2017 NDAA and is partially or not consistent with some. For example, although NOAA has protocols for investigating allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment, NOAA's policy does not specifically describe these protocols, as required by the 2017 NDAA. In addition, the policy follows most selected practices recommended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in its 2017 Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment document. While NOAA's actions followed many selected EEOC promising practices, GAO found some shortcomings in the agency's prevention and response processes. For example, NOAA's 2020 mandatory training for supervisors and managers did not explain the consequences for failing to fulfill the reporting responsibilities related to allegations of harassment—in contrast to EEOC's promising practices. Specifically, the training did not describe the consequences managers could face if, for example, they failed to report incidents that they witnessed or that were reported to them. In the absence of training or other mechanisms to clearly outline consequences for failing to fulfill managers' responsibilities, agency managers may allow harassing behavior to continue, thereby raising liability concerns and undermining the message that sexual harassment is not tolerated. In addition, EEOC's promising practices state that those implementing an agency's complaint system should appropriately document every complaint. The offices responsible for implementing each of NOAA's complaint systems do not maintain or collect data in a consistent manner and have not always provided data to management in a consistent format. Consequently, the agency has experienced difficulty reconciling data from its multiple complaint systems for annual reports to Congress and is hindered in its ability to target prevention and response efforts, according to agency officials. Extent to which NOAA's 2018 Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Policy and the Agency's Related Actions Follow Selected Promising Practices Summary Results of GAO analysis NOAA's 2018 policy follows most selected Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment. ● NOAA's leadership and accountability actions to prevent and respond to sexual harassment follow selected EEOC promising practices. ◐ NOAA's anti-harassment training follows selected EEOC promising practices. ◐ NOAA's harassment complaint systems follow selected EEOC promising practices. ◐ Source: GAO. I GAO-21-560 ● Follows ◐ Partially Follows Why GAO Did This Study Sexual assault and sexual harassment can have harmful effects on the individual employees as well as the workplace by undermining employee morale and decreasing productivity. In 2018, NOAA identified several factors indicating that the agency may be at risk for harassment or assault, or both. GAO was asked to review NOAA's policies and actions for preventing and responding to sexual assault and sexual harassment. This report examines: (1) the extent to which NOAA's policy is consistent with relevant legal requirements in the 2017 NDAA and follows EEOC's promising practices and (2) the extent to which NOAA's actions follow EEOC's promising practices. GAO reviewed NOAA's prevention and response policy and actions from 2016 through August 2021. GAO analyzed data, interviewed officials, and compared NOAA's policy and actions to relevant sections of the 2017 NDAA and EEOC's promising practices.</div>

What GAO Found

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (2017 NDAA) required the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop a policy for preventing and responding to sexual assault and sexual harassment of NOAA’s workforce. In response to the 2017 NDAA, NOAA issued its Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response Policy in February 2018. GAO found that this 2018 policy is consistent with most of the relevant legal requirements from the 2017 NDAA and is partially or not consistent with some. For example, although NOAA has protocols for investigating allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment, NOAA’s policy does not specifically describe these protocols, as required by the 2017 NDAA. In addition, the policy follows most selected practices recommended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in its 2017 Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment document.

While NOAA’s actions followed many selected EEOC promising practices, GAO found some shortcomings in the agency’s prevention and response processes. For example, NOAA’s 2020 mandatory training for supervisors and managers did not explain the consequences for failing to fulfill the reporting responsibilities related to allegations of harassment—in contrast to EEOC’s promising practices. Specifically, the training did not describe the consequences managers could face if, for example, they failed to report incidents that they witnessed or that were reported to them. In the absence of training or other mechanisms to clearly outline consequences for failing to fulfill managers’ responsibilities, agency managers may allow harassing behavior to continue, thereby raising liability concerns and undermining the message that sexual harassment is not tolerated.

In addition, EEOC’s promising practices state that those implementing an agency’s complaint system should appropriately document every complaint. The offices responsible for implementing each of NOAA’s complaint systems do not maintain or collect data in a consistent manner and have not always provided data to management in a consistent format. Consequently, the agency has experienced difficulty reconciling data from its multiple complaint systems for annual reports to Congress and is hindered in its ability to target prevention and response efforts, according to agency officials.

Extent to which NOAA’s 2018 Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Policy and the Agency’s Related Actions Follow Selected Promising Practices

Summary

Results of GAO analysis

NOAA’s 2018 policy follows most selected Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment.

NOAA’s leadership and accountability actions to prevent and respond to sexual harassment follow selected EEOC promising practices.

NOAA’s anti-harassment training follows selected EEOC promising practices.

NOAA’s harassment complaint systems follow selected EEOC promising practices.

Why GAO Did This Study

Sexual assault and sexual harassment can have harmful effects on the individual employees as well as the workplace by undermining employee morale and decreasing productivity. In 2018, NOAA identified several factors indicating that the agency may be at risk for harassment or assault, or both.

GAO was asked to review NOAA’s policies and actions for preventing and responding to sexual assault and sexual harassment. This report examines: (1) the extent to which NOAA’s policy is consistent with relevant legal requirements in the 2017 NDAA and follows EEOC’s promising practices and (2) the extent to which NOAA’s actions follow EEOC’s promising practices.

GAO reviewed NOAA’s prevention and response policy and actions from 2016 through August 2021. GAO analyzed data, interviewed officials, and compared NOAA’s policy and actions to relevant sections of the 2017 NDAA and EEOC’s promising practices.

More from:

News Network

  • Corrections officer indicted for providing meth and sex to an inmate
    In Justice News
    A 38-year-old Beeville [Read More…]
  • Iranian Nationals Charged with Conspiring to Evade U.S. Sanctions on Iran by Disguising $300 Million in Transactions Over Two Decades
    In Crime News
    A federal criminal complaint unsealed today charges 10 Iranian nationals with running a nearly 20-year-long scheme to evade U.S. sanctions on the Government of Iran by disguising more than $300 million worth of transactions – including the purchase of two $25 million oil tankers – on Iran’s behalf through front companies in the San Fernando Valley, Canada, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.
    [Read More…]
  • Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request: U.S. Government Accountability Office
    In U.S GAO News
    This testimony discusses the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2013. We very much appreciate the confidence Congress has shown in our efforts to help support the Congress in carrying out its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve government performance and accountability for the benefit of the American people.GAO is requesting an appropriation of $526.2 million for FY 2013 to support a staffing level of 3,100. This funding level represents a modest increase of 2.9 percent over FY 2012, and is 5.4 percent below our FY 2010 level. The majority of the requested increase represents the first step in rebuilding our staff capacity to a level that will enable us to optimize the benefits we yield for the Congress and the nation.GAO’s work directly contributes to improvements in a broad array of federal programs affecting Americans everywhere and remains one of the best investments across the federal government. With this committee’s support, in FY 2011 GAO provided assistance to every standing congressional committee and about 70 percent of their subcommittees. GAO issues hundreds of products annually in response to congressional requests and mandates. Actions taken related to our findings and recommendations yielded significant results across the government, including financial benefits of $45.7 billion to reduce government expenditures, reallocate funds to more productive areas, or increase revenues. These benefits produced a return on investment of $81 for every dollar invested in GAO.GAO senior officials testified 174 times before the Congress on an array of complex issues including military and veterans disability systems, U.S. Postal Service fiscal sustainability, defense/weapons systems, and Medicare and Medicaid fraud, waste, and abuse. Fifty-seven of these hearings were related to high-risk areas and programs highlighted in GAO’s biennial high-risk report. As the Congress and the administration debate ways to improve the federal government’s long-term fiscal outlook, our mission becomes ever more critical to help identify billions of dollars in cost-saving opportunities to tighten federal budgets and identify revenue-enhancement opportunities. GAO seeks both to help position the government to better manage risks that could compromise the nation’s security, health, and solvency, and to identify opportunities for managing government resources wisely for a more sustainable future. GAO will continue to provide high-quality, high-value, and independent support to the Congress in ways that generate material benefits to the nation. GAO’s High-risk Program calls attention to opportunities for cost savings and improvements in federal agency and program management that offer the potential to save billions of dollars, dramatically improve service to the public, and strengthen confidence and trust in the performance and accountability of the U.S. government. In FY 2011, our work also included several products mandated under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act on mortgages, securities markets, financial institutions, the Federal Reserve, and consumer protection. Additionally, our work included many other products related to health-care related reforms.As the Congress and the administration debate ways to improve the federal government’s long-term fiscal outlook, our mission becomes ever more critical to help identify billions of dollars in cost-saving opportunities to tighten federal budgets and identify revenue-enhancement opportunities. GAO seeks both to help position the government to better manage risks that could compromise the nation’s security, health, and solvency, and to identify opportunities for managing government resources wisely for a more sustainable future. GAO will continue to provide high-quality, high-value, and independent support to the Congress in ways that generate material benefits to the nation.GAO’s strategic plan for serving the Congress and the nation, 2010-2015, highlights the broad scope of our efforts to help the institution of the Congress respond to domestic and international challenges, such asaddressing current and emerging challenges to the well-being and financial security of the American people;responding to changing security threats and the challenges of global interdependence;helping transform the federal government to address national challenges; andmaximizing the value of GAO by enabling quality, timely service to the Congress and being a leading practices federal agency.
    [Read More…]
  • Department of Justice Files Nationwide Lawsuit Against Walmart Inc. for Controlled Substances Act Violations
    In Crime News
    Complaint Alleges [Read More…]
  • Owner of North Carolina Temporary Staffing Firms Sentenced to Prison for Employment Tax Fraud
    In Crime News
    A Greensboro, North Carolina, business owner was sentenced to 42 months in prison yesterday for failing to pay employment taxes, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin for the Middle District of North Carolina.
    [Read More…]
  • Department Press Briefing – May 4, 2021
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Jalina Porter, Principal [Read More…]
  • Former Elkhart, Indiana Resident Sentenced to Over Six Years in Prison for Financing of Terrorism
    In Crime News
    Samantha Marie Elhassani, aka Samantha Sally, 35, formerly of Elkhart, Indiana, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Philip P. Simon to 78 months in prison and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Financing Terrorism, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana Thomas L. Kirsch II, FBI Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division Jill Sanborn, and FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Indianapolis field office Paul Keenan.
    [Read More…]
  • Senior State Department Official On the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative
    In Women’s News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Homelessness: Better HUD Oversight of Data Collection Could Improve Estimates of Homeless Population
    In U.S GAO News
    Data collected through the Point-in-Time (PIT) count—a count of people experiencing homelessness on a single night—have limitations for measuring homelessness. The PIT count is conducted each January by Continuums of Care (CoC)—local homelessness planning bodies that apply for grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and coordinate homelessness services. The 2019 PIT count estimated that nearly 568,000 people (0.2 percent of the U.S. population) were homeless, a decline from the 2012 count of about 621,500 but a slight increase over the period's low of about 550,000 in 2016. While HUD has taken steps to improve data quality, the data likely underestimate the size of the homeless population because identifying people experiencing homelessness is inherently difficult. Some CoCs' total and unsheltered PIT counts have large year-over-year fluctuations, which raise questions about data accuracy. GAO found that HUD does not closely examine CoCs' methodologies for collecting data to ensure they meet HUD's standards. HUD's instructions to CoCs on probability sampling techniques to estimate homelessness were incomplete. Some CoC representatives also said that the assistance HUD provides on data collection does not always meet their needs. By strengthening its oversight and guidance in these areas, HUD could further improve the quality of homelessness data. To understand factors associated with homelessness in recent years, GAO used PIT count data to conduct an econometric analysis, which found that rental prices were associated with homelessness. To mitigate data limitations, GAO used data from years with improved data quality and took other analytical steps to increase confidence in the results. CoC representatives GAO interviewed also identified rental prices and other factors such as job loss as contributing to homelessness. Estimated Homelessness Rates and Household Median Rent in the 20 Largest Continuums of Care (CoC), 2018 Note: This map shows the 20 largest Point-in-Time counts by CoC in 2018. GAO estimated 2018 homelessness rates because the U.S. Census Bureau data used to calculate these rates were available up to 2018 at the time of analysis. GAO used 2017 median rents (in 2018 dollars) across all unit sizes and types. Policymakers have raised concerns about the extent to which recent increases in homelessness are associated with the availability of affordable housing. Moreover, counting the homeless population is a longstanding challenge. GAO was asked to review the current state of homelessness in the United States. This report examines (1) efforts to measure homelessness and HUD's oversight of these efforts and (2) factors associated with recent changes in homelessness. GAO analyzed three HUD data sources on homelessness and developed an econometric model of the factors influencing changes in homelessness. GAO also conducted structured interviews with 12 researchers and representatives of 21 CoCs and four focus groups with a total of 34 CoC representatives responsible for collecting and maintaining homelessness data. CoCs were selected for interviews and focus groups to achieve diversity in size and geography. GAO also visited three major cities that experienced recent increases in homelessness. GAO recommends that HUD (1) conduct quality checks on CoCs' data-collection methodologies, (2) improve its instructions for using probability sampling techniques to estimate homelessness, and (3) assess and enhance the assistance it provides to CoCs on data collection. HUD concurred with the recommendations. For more information, contact Alicia Puente Cackley at (202) 512-8678 or cackleya@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Department Press Briefing – September 24, 2021
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Anesthesia Services: Differences between Private and Medicare Payments Likely Due to Providers’ Strong Negotiating Position
    In U.S GAO News
    Literature GAO reviewed indicated that private insurance payments for anesthesia services on average were more than 3-1/2 times those of Medicare payments. This payment difference increased from what GAO reported in 2007—average private insurance payments for certain anesthesia services in 2004 were about 3 times those of Medicare. While Medicare rates for anesthesia services are set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), private insurance rates are set through negotiations between providers and private insurers. GAO identified three recent studies with analyses of private insurance and Medicare payments for anesthesia services: Researchers from Yale University calculated that private insurance payments were 3.67 times Medicare payments, on average, for services provided by anesthesiologists for one large private insurer in 2015 operating across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Health Care Cost Institute calculated that in 2017 private insurance payments ranged from 2 to 7 times Medicare payments, on average, across six common services provided by anesthesiologists in 33 states. Wide state-to-state variation within specific services was reported. The American Society of Anesthesiologists reported that private insurance payments were 3.46 times Medicare payments, on average, based on a survey of its members in 2019. According to studies GAO reviewed and stakeholders GAO interviewed, market factors likely enhanced anesthesia providers' negotiating position and allowed them to secure higher private payments. For example, several studies and stakeholders cited market concentration as a key factor that increased private payments for anesthesia services. In a market with high provider concentration—or relatively few providers in a given market—there is little competition between providers, enabling the providers within that market to negotiate for higher payments from private insurers. Studies also indicated that specialists, including anesthesia providers, could negotiate higher in-network payment rates because they were able to leave an insurer's network with little risk of losing patients or revenue. In addition, when anesthesia providers are not a part of a private insurer's network, they are typically able to bill for a higher amount than the insurer would pay for an in-network provider, known as out-of-network billing. This dynamic decreases providers' incentives to participate in insurer networks because it creates an attractive alternative to network participation. GAO's interviews with stakeholders, literature review, and review of agency data generally did not indicate that the supply of anesthesia providers was insufficient for Medicare beneficiaries. CMS data indicate that the number of active anesthesia providers per 100,000 Medicare beneficiaries increased from 2010 through 2018 and that a very small number of anesthesia providers opted out of the Medicare program. Furthermore, researchers and stakeholders GAO interviewed were not aware of any issues with access to anesthesia services for Medicare beneficiaries, including those in traditionally underserved rural areas. In 2018, Medicare paid over $2 billion for anesthesia services, such as general anesthesia administered to beneficiaries undergoing surgical or other invasive procedures. The joint explanatory statement for the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 included a provision for GAO to update its 2007 report and examine how differences in payment rates for anesthesia services have changed since that time. In 2007, GAO reported that Medicare payments in 2004 for certain anesthesia services provided by anesthesiologists were on average 67 percent lower than private insurance payments in certain geographic areas—indicating that private payments were about 3 times more than Medicare payments at that time. This report describes what is known about (1) recent trends in differences between Medicare and private payments for anesthesia services, and (2) the sufficiency of the supply of anesthesia providers for Medicare beneficiaries. GAO reviewed literature and available published data on payment differences for anesthesia services, published in the United States since 2010. GAO also reviewed data from CMS on the number of anesthesia providers from 2010, 2018, and 2020. GAO also interviewed a nongeneralizable selection of three research groups, two beneficiary advocacy groups, and five stakeholder groups, including those representing anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, and hospitals, to obtain their perspectives on these issues. The Department of Health and Human Services provided no comments on this report. For more information, contact Jessica Farb at (202) 512-7114 or farbj@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Navy Ships: Timely Actions Needed to Improve Planning and Develop Capabilities for Battle Damage Repair
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Navy has identified several challenges with using its regular maintenance capability (which restores ships to fully operational status) to provide battle damage repairs during a great power conflict. Challenges include—the lack of established doctrine for battle damage repair, unclear command and control roles, and a shortage of repair capacity. The Navy Process for Repairing Ships Damaged in Battle The Navy is in the early stages of determining how it will provide battle damage repair during a great power conflict. Eight organizations are responsible for the Navy's 15 battle damage repair planning efforts, however the Navy has not designated an organization to lead and oversee these efforts. Without designated leadership, the Navy may be hindered in its efforts to address the many challenges it faces in sustaining its ships during a great power conflict. The Navy develops ship vulnerability models during a ship's acquisition to estimate damage during a conflict. These models are also used to inform war games that refine operational approaches and train leaders on decision-making. However, the Navy does not update these models over a ship's decades-long service life to reflect changes to key systems that could affect model accuracy. As a result, it lacks quality data on ship mission-critical failure points to inform its analysis of battle damage repair needs. Without periodically assessing and updating its models to accurately reflect the ship's mission-critical systems, the Navy has limited its ability to assess and develop battle damage repair capabilities necessary to sustain ships in a conflict with a great power competitor. Why GAO Did This Study The ability to repair and maintain ships plays a critical role in sustaining Navy readiness. After the Cold War, the Navy divested many wartime ship repair capabilities. With the rise of great power competitors capable of producing high-end threats in warfare, the Navy must now be prepared to quickly salvage and repair damage to a modern fleet. House Report 116-120, accompanying a bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, included a provision for GAO to assess the Navy's efforts to identify and mitigate challenges in repairing battle-damaged ships during a great power conflict. GAO's report (1) discusses the challenges the Navy has identified in using its regular maintenance capability for battle damage repair, and (2) evaluates the extent to which the Navy has begun developing the battle damage repair capability it requires to prevail in a great power conflict. GAO reviewed relevant guidance and assessed reports on naval war games and other documentation to identify challenges that may impede the planning and repair of battle-damaged ships and efforts to improve the repair capability for a great power conflict.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hill Tinoco
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Costa Rica Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Do not travel to Costa [Read More…]
  • Higher Education: Children’s Savings Account Programs Can Help Families Build Savings and Envision College
    In U.S GAO News
    Eighty-two Children's Savings Account (CSA) programs operated and had collectively enrolled about 700,000 children in 2019, according to survey data from the nonprofit organization Prosperity Now. These programs—operated by states, cities, and other organizations—use a variety of strategies to enroll families, especially those with lower incomes, and help them save and prepare for college. For example, CSA programs enroll families by partnering with trusted organizations (e.g., schools) or through automatic enrollment, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and CSA experts. In addition, these programs help families build savings once children are enrolled by, for example, providing initial deposits or financial education. While experts GAO interviewed said savings may be modest given lower-income families' and programs' limited resources, CSA programs also aim to help lower-income families prepare for college, such as by increasing financial knowledge. There is evidence that CSA program strategies have positive short-term effects on families, including those with lower incomes. These effects include increased CSA program enrollment and participation, amounts saved, and educational expectations, based on research GAO reviewed (see figure). For example, strategies such as automatically enrolling families and providing financial contributions (e.g., initial deposits) may help CSA programs reach more families and encourage saving. Several studies of a CSA program that used both these strategies found increases in the number of children enrolled and the amount saved by enrolled families. One study found that families who were enrolled for 7 years saved over four times more of their own money, on average, than families who were not enrolled—$261 compared to $59. When including financial contributions from the CSA program, enrolled families had about six times more total savings ($1,851) compared to other families ($323). Enrollment and participation in CSA programs may also increase families' educational expectations for their children. For example, a study found that parents with children enrolled in one CSA program were nearly twice as likely to expect their children to attend college. However, information on college enrollment and other long-term effects on families participating in CSA programs is limited because most of the children have not yet reached college age. Effects of CSA Program Strategies in Three Commonly Assessed Areas Rising college costs have outpaced federal grant aid and placed more of the financial burden on students and their families. CSA programs help families, especially lower-income families, save for college—and other postsecondary education—by providing financial contributions and possibly other supports. A Senate Appropriations Committee report included provisions for GAO to examine various aspects of college savings account programs and their effectiveness. This report examines (1) the number of CSA programs and how they use strategies to help families, especially lower-income families, save and prepare for college; and (2) what is known about the effects of these strategies on families, including lower-income families. GAO reviewed 2016–2019 annual CSA program survey data collected by the nonprofit Prosperity Now. GAO also analyzed CFPB documents and the findings of 33 peer-reviewed studies from 2010 through 2019—and one working paper from 2017—that met GAO's criteria for inclusion, for example, used data from the United States. In addition, GAO interviewed officials from CFPB, the Department of Education, and four organizations that have expertise on these programs. For more information, contact Melissa Emrey-Arras at (617) 788-0534 or emreyarrasm@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • What is Judicial Impartiality? Judges Explain How They Apply the Law
    In U.S Courts
    How do federal judges have an impact on individual rights every day, even for people who may never enter a courtroom? Ten federal judges answer the question in the new video “Court Shorts: A Fair and Impartial Judiciary,” produced in celebration of Constitution Day, on Sept. 17, discussing their commitment to impartiality, the Constitution, and the rule of law.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan At the Signing of the Singapore-United States Third-Country Training Program (TCTP) Memorandum of Understanding Renewal
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Maryland Tax Preparer Indicted for Preparing False Returns
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Greenbelt, Maryland, returned an indictment today charging an Upper Marlboro tax return preparer with conspiracy to defraud the United States and aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur.
    [Read More…]
  • Financial Services Industry: Using Data to Promote Greater Diversity and Inclusion
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found GAO's prior work has shown that the financial services industry has made little or no progress in increasing diversity at the senior management level. The figure below shows the latest available data on diversity at senior levels. Race/Ethnicity and Gender Representation of Executive/Senior-Level Management in the Financial Services Industry, 2018 One common theme of GAO's recent reports on diversity in the financial services industry is the importance of using data to assess diversity and inclusion efforts. In 2017, GAO reported that financial services firms said it is important for firms to collect and analyze data to assess workforce diversity. Notably, all the financial services firms with which GAO spoke agreed on the importance of analyzing employee data. Some firm representatives noted that with such data, they can analyze the gender and racial/ethnic diversity of new hires, employees leaving the organization, and newly promoted staff and managers. In 2019 and 2020, GAO reported that the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks) and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the enterprises) track diversity composition data on their workforce, recruitment, and hiring. The FHLBanks and the enterprises use these data to compare their performance against benchmarks, such as prior-year metrics and peer institutions, and set goals for future performance. They also incorporate diversity targets into their incentive compensation goals or performance competencies for management. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) uses data to oversee the workforce diversity and inclusion efforts of the FHLBanks and the enterprises. As GAO reported in 2019 and 2020, FHFA collects and reviews quarterly and annual workforce diversity data from the FHLBanks and enterprises. For example, FHFA assesses each FHLBank's performance in workforce diversity using the quarterly data. In 2017, FHFA also began reviewing diversity and inclusion efforts as part of its annual examinations of the FHLBanks and the enterprises. Why GAO Did This Study The financial services industry provides services that help families build wealth and is essential to the economic growth of the country. For instance, the FHLBanks, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac play important roles in supporting the U.S. housing market. The FHLBanks include 11 federally chartered banks that provide liquidity for member institutions, such as commercial and community banks, to use in support of housing finance and community lending. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase single-family and multifamily mortgage loans that lenders already made to borrowers. Congressional members and others have highlighted the need for the financial services industry to create opportunities for all Americans, including supporting a diverse workforce. This statement discusses (1) how financial service firms use data to assess workforce diversity efforts; (2) how the FHLBanks and the enterprises use data to assess their diversity efforts; and (3) how FHFA oversees diversity efforts at the FHLBanks and the enterprises. This statement is primarily based on three GAO reports (GAO-18-64, GAO-19-589, and GAO-20-637) on diversity efforts in the financial services industry and at FHLBanks and the enterprises. For the reports, GAO reviewed relevant literature and data, and interviewed representatives of financial services firms and industry and diversity advocacy organizations. GAO also reviewed documents and interviewed officials from the FHLBanks, enterprises, and FHFA. For more information, contact Daniel Garcia-Diaz at (202) 512-8678 or GarciaDiazD@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Visit by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to Morocco for the Reopening of the Israeli Liaison Office
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.