Restoring the Power of the Purse: Legislative Options

Hearing Date: December 1, 2016 2:00 pm 2154 Rayburn HOB


  • To examine use of fines, fees, penalties, and settlements to fund agency priorities outside of the appropriations process.
  • To discuss H.R. 5499, the Agency Accountability Act of 2016 as a potential solution.


  • The Constitution vests the power of the purse in Congress, and over time it has been subverted by spending that occurs outside of the appropriations process.
  • Agencies routinely use funds collected through fines, fees, penalties, and settlements, to fund agency operations and unappropriated programs.
  • The Government Accountability Office calls this “backdoor spending.”


Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
Ms. Heather Krause Acting Director, Strategic Issues U.S. Government Accountability Office Document
Mr. Kevin Kosar Senior Fellow and Governance Project Director R Street Institute Document
Mr. Hudson Hollister Executive Director Data Coalition Document
Mr. Stephen M. Kohn Executive Director National Whistleblower Center Document

Related Documents

Name Document
Transcript Document