In 2021, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) celebrated its 100th anniversary, and its mission has never been more critical. This study documents the 100-year history of GAO, examining how Congressional law changes and leadership influences of the Comptroller General of the United States have shaped GAO’s role, services, and products. GAO has transformed from focusing on providing oversight through its audits of federal government expenditures during its early years (e.g., to assess legality) to emerging as a leader in providing insights to Congress through program evaluation audits and, more recently, to providing Congress the foresight necessary to confront the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

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