2002 Olympics to Cost US Taxpayers $1.3 Billion: >Page 1, 2
No Federal Olympics Law or Policy
In the GAO report, Olympic Games - Federal Government Supplies Significant Funding and Support. investigators report that, "no government-wide law or policy exists that defines the federal governments overall role in funding and supporting the Olympic Games when hosted in the United States. Nor is there a single federal agency that has the responsibility to oversee and monitor the federal funding and support provided for the Olympic Games." However, reports the GAO, federal agencies have in the past and continue to fund various aspects of the Olympic Games in response to requests from state and local governments. According to the GAO, " Federal assistance has been requested because these entities have not had enough resources to provide for the infrastructure improvements necessary to prepare the host city or to plan and stage all aspects of the Olympic Games when hosted in the United States."
Although President Clinton established a White House task force to coordinate federal involvement in the 1996 Atlanta and 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games, OMB found no statutory requirement for a single federal agency to oversee and monitor the appropriateness of federal funding and support for the Olympic Games.
In addition, GAO researchers found that federal agencies failed to properly track or report their spending in support of the Olympic Games, except when directly ordered to do so by the White House's Office of Management and Budget.
Some Example Expenditures
Examples of Major
Federal Funding and Support Planned
and Provided to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City
(In 1999 Dollars)
|Agency||Services Provided||Total Projected Cost|
|Dept. of Defense||safety & security services||$24.6 million|
|Health & Human Services||safety & security services||$9.5 million|
|Dept. of Justice||
safety & security services
|Treasury||safety & security services||$58.7 million|
|FEMA||safety & security services||$6.1 million|
|Forest Service||planning services - forest improvements||$16.1 million|
& transit improvements --
In its report to Senators McCain and Dingell, the GAO concludes that while its roll in the Olympic Games is not specifically authorized by statute or policy, the federal government has become a major financial supporter of the Games when hosted by U.S. cities. According to the GAO, Congress should consider passing laws formalizing the government's roll and level of support for the Olympic Games.
The GAO further recommends:
- That the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), "track and
periodically report to Congress federal agencies planned and actual
funding and support for the Olympic Games hosted in the United States,
beginning when a U.S. city is awarded the right to host the Games through
the completion of the Games.
- That OMB, "provide guidance to agencies on what data should be
compiled to ensure consistency and completeness, and request all federal
agencies to provide information, including those that do not normally
report to OMB."
- That the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Veterans Administration (VA), "implement policies and controls to ensure the appropriate use of federal funds for the Olympic and Paralympic Games hosted in the United States."
Senator McCain on the GAO Report
On Sept. 19, 2000, Sen. McCain, speaking in opposition to the Conference Report on the 2001 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill advised the Senate of details from the GAO's report. As recorded in the Congressional Record, Sen. McCain stated,
"The GAO now determines that $1.3 billion--and some of those I will read: $974,000 for the Utah State Olympic Public Safety Command; $5 million for the Utah Communications Agency Network; $3 million to Olympic Regional Development Authority, upgrades at Mt. Van Hoevenberg Sports Complex; $2.5 million, Salt Lake City Olympics bus facilities; $2.5 million, Salt Lake City Olympics regional park-and-ride lots; $500,000, Salt Lake City Olympics transit bus loan, and on and on; $925,000 to allow the Utah State Olympic Public Safety Command to continue to develop and support a public safety program for the 2002 Winter Olympics; $1 million for the 2002 Winter Olympics security training; $2.2 million for the Charleston Water Conservancy District, UT, to meet sewer infrastructure needs associated with the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. What the Olympic games supposedly hosted and funded by Salt Lake City, which began in corruption and bribery, has now turned into is an incredible pork-barrel project for Salt Lake City and its environs." -- Sen. John McCain in the United States Senate, Sept. 19, 2000 - [Page S8731-S8748 - Congressional Record.]
Your Opinion on This Issue?
should pay for the Olympics when held in a U.S. City?
Olympic Games: Federal Government Provides Significant Funding and Support. GAO/GGD-00-183
Download the entire GAO report in .pdf format. Report is not available online. (Viewing the report requires the free Adobe Acrobat viewer.)
The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO)
An agency that works for Congress and the American people. Congress asks GAO to study the programs and expenditures of the federal government. Commonly called the investigative arm of Congress or the congressional watchdog.
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