GAO publishes Red Book volume

The rules for proper handling and disbursement of federal dollars get an update in the just-published Volume III of the official Principles of Federal Appropriations Law, known as the “Red Book,” released online on Feb. 19.

The Government Accountability Office published its first edition of the Red Book in 1982. The book outlines the body of law governing the expenditures of federal funds, including disbursements for contracts for goods and services.

The newest 898-page volume completes the GAO’s updating of the second edition.

Contracts administrators, federal agency program managers, general counsels and financial officers utilize the Red Book to learn the rules of maximizing their budget allocations while avoiding mistakes in handling that can result in wasted or lost funds.

The Red Book offers guidance on such topics as line item vs. lump sum appropriations; reprogramming and transfers; earmarking language; interrelationships between authorization and appropriation; replacement contracts; the Antideficiency Act, and obligation and deobligation of funds.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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