Civil Monetary Penalties:

Review of Federal Agencies' Compliance with the 2018 Annual Inflation Adjustment Requirements

GAO-19-567R: Published: Jul 24, 2019. Publicly Released: Jul 24, 2019.

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Contact:

Paula M. Rascona
(202) 512-9816
rasconap@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Federal agencies use civil monetary penalties to punish willful violators and deter future violations. However, if these fines aren't regularly adjusted for inflation, they may lose their effectiveness as a deterrent. Congress enacted the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 partly to address this issue.

In 2015, Congress amended this act to require GAO to annually review agencies' compliance with certain provisions of the act.

In this year's review, we found that most of the 52 agencies that could be subject to the act complied with its publication and reporting requirements for the 2018 inflation adjustment.

A gavel on top of $20 bills

A gavel on top of $20 bills

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Paula M. Rascona
(202) 512-9816
rasconap@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

What GAO Found

In this third annual review, GAO found that most federal agencies that could be subject to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended (IAA), have complied with the provisions of the act to publish annual civil monetary penalty inflation adjustments in the Federal Register and report related information in their 2018 agency financial reports (AFR). However, four agencies did not adjust all civil penalties for inflation or report in their 2018 AFRs related information for some of their civil monetary penalties, and one agency did not publish inflation adjustments in the Federal Register.

Why GAO Did This Study

The IAA includes a provision, added in 2015, requiring GAO to annually submit to Congress a report assessing agencies’ compliance with the annual inflation adjustments required by the act. This is the third annual report responding to this requirement.

For more information, contact Paula M. Rascona at (202) 512-9816 or rasconap@gao.gov.

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