Chairman Royce, Working to Make International Broadcasting Effective, Issues Statement

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, reacted to the State Department Office of the Inspector General (OIG) audit on wasteful spending and abuse of power at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the agency that oversees U.S. international broadcasting.  The audit details a “systemic failure” of BBG acquisitions, including nearly $5 million in unjustified and unapproved spending.

Chairman Royce said:  “This audit details troubling practices at the Broadcasting Board of Governors.  The wasteful spending, non-competitive contracting practices, and violations of current law point to an organization without accountable leadership.  Reports and audits like this one detailing the dysfunction of the BBG have become all too common as long-standing management problems have been allowed to fester.  Recently, the Foreign Affairs Committee overwhelmingly passed legislation to reform the BBG and fix the very problems identified in this audit, empowering our international broadcasters and fixing a defunct bureaucracy that stifles our efforts to communicate with foreign audiences.  For the sake of our national security interests, it is critical that U.S. international broadcasting be effective; that is why we have to scrap this broken agency.”

Note:  H.R. 4490 (the United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014) was introduced in April by Chairman Royce and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member.  The legislation makes overdue reforms to the BBG and addresses the problems identified in the OIG’s audit by establishing a CEO to oversee the federal broadcasting entities and be accountable for the organization’s implementation of Federal rules and regulations.  The legislation requires the CEO to submit an annual report to Congress on the organization’s compliance with Federal Acquisition Regulations and the Anti-Deficiency Act, including a review of contracts awarded on a non-competitive basis, compliance with regulations regarding contract tenders, and the use of personal service contracts – all areas cited in the OIG audit.