Matt Cook – Highlight Transcripts

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Real Property Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act

Matthew Cook: That oftentimes GAO is a compromise position for folks on the Hill, right, when one side wants one thing and another side wants another thing, they can agree that GAO should look at it. And so we often get requests to do some sort of an evaluation on a sticky issue and hopefully weigh in and provide additional information. But yeah, we do a ton of that that those sorts of mandates. In fact, some of the work that we’re about to talk about is all of it actually is from the bill, 2016 bill, the federal assets sale and transfer act.

Mike Bordenaro: OK, well then let’s let’s let’s do the breaking news.

Matthew Cook: Yeah. So when we this is actually it’s a little bit of a unique product type for GAO, It’s what we call a correspondence, which is not a full evaluative report. You’ll see that there are no recommendations there. We usually try and have recommendations, but it’s just it’s just got that full report link and highlights and what we call our fast facts, which is just kind of summarizing the findings of the report. But when we spoke last, when I was last with you, Mike, we kind of went into the Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act. I’m gonna say it one more time and that I’m just going to call it FASTA going forward. And it’s interesting that they call it FASTA because it’s kind of been “SLOW-A.” And that’s one of the messages that we’re going to. Oh, thank you for laughing. I hope others laughed. I use that joke every once in a while. One of the things that this is highlighting this work is highlighting is that actually the the civilian board that made recommendations on which properties to get rid of is part of this new disposal process actually did a pretty good job of making those recommendations quickly in the timeframe required under the bill. But now we’ve gotten bogged down in terms of actually selling properties. The whole idea here was to identify high value properties that the government no longer needs. Test out some concepts, including the civilian board, there’s a funding mechanism that’s included as part of FASTA to help provide some upfront capital for agencies to get rid of assets. And that’s all been really bogged down in the process by not actually selling these assets that we’ve identified. So the board made its recommendations in December of 2019, which were approved by OMB in January of 2020. We, as of today have sold one of those properties. So two years later, there were twelve total recommendations. There is one that has sold its a park and ride lot for $268,000, which I don’t want to belittle. But it’s not a lot of money in the scheme of things, and they’re still trying to sell the remaining eleven properties, several of which are worth $100 million, plus in some cases , several hundred million dollars. And the idea there is that those properties will be sold and go into a separate account that then the funds can be appropriated out of and federal agencies can use to then identify and sell additional assets. So it’s a selfish cycling account, but right now we’re just we’re waiting on the sales. So it’s really impacting the process.