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Headed by the Comptroller General of the U.S., the GAO is a legislative branch agency which provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for the United States Congress. Formerly known as the Government Accounting Office, the GAO was established by the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921. This Act required the GAO to “investigate, at the seat of government or elsewhere, all matters related to the receipt, disbursement, and application of public funds, and shall make to the President and to Congress reports and recommendations looking to greater economy of efficiency in public expenditures.”
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The GAO also possesses certain powers, including: