Watching Government: The policy cop

In an atmosphere of increasing partisanship, the nonpartisan General Accounting Office has been thrown into the public spotlight because of volatile energy debates in Washington, DC. Energy issues have been a hot topic lately for the agency, the investigative arm of Congress. Democrats asked the agency to study the workings of a White House energy task force while Republicans wanted more information on the role state regulators played in the California power crisis. Studying controversial policy questions is routine for GAO. But this summer's energy debates have been so politically voracious that GAO has had a difficult time obtaining the information it says it needs to comply with la...

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