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Related to the Theory of the Unitary Executive

The second basis for the President’s objections rests on the theory of the unitary executive. Under this theory, the President, as head of the executive branch, may control employees and officers of the executive branch without outside interference. This theory is rooted in Article II of the Constitution, which grants the President the executive power and instructs the President to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”[5] The theory of the unitary executive holds that these responsibilities necessarily vest in the President the power to control executive branch employees and officers free of interference from the other government branches.[6] The President objected to the following provisions on this basis:


December 20, 2007

The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary
United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Robert C. Byrd
Chairman, Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate

Subject: Presidential Signing Statements—Agency Implementation of Ten Provisions of Law

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Accountability   Integrity   Reliability

Two agencies have not implemented three provisions we examined. The first is DOE. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended additional whistleblower protections to DOE employees and requires that DOE post information about the new protections in DOE facilities. Pub. L. No. 109-58, sect. 629. The President objected to this provision under the theory of the unitary executive. DOE has not yet posted such information for its employees. DOE’s Web site and posters in DOE facilities do advise employees of their whistleblower rights under the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 but do not mention the additional protections now afforded DOE employees. DOE says that its Web site and posters “should be updated with references to” the new whistleblower protection provisions, but did not say when the materials would be updated.

[15] The Whistleblower Protection Act forbids retaliation by an agency against an employee who discloses information that the employee believes shows a violation of any law, rule or regulation or shows gross mismanagement, fraud, waste, or abuse. 5 U.S.C. sect. 2302. Individuals may file complaints under the act with the Merit Systems Protection Board or the Office of Special Counsel. 5 U.S.C. sect. 7701; 5 U.S.C. sections 1211–1215. Section 5851, as discussed above, protects employees with regard to the Atomic Energy Act and Energy Reorganization Act and covers actions outside the scope of the Whistleblower Protection Act.


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From the Comptroller General

Gene Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the United States

Portrait of Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States

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Gene L. Dodaro became Acting Comptroller General of the United States on March 13, 2008, succeeding David M. Walker, who appointed him upon resigning. Mr. Dodaro will serve in this position until the President nominates and the Senate confirms a successor from a list of candidates proposed by the Congress.

In a GAO career dating back more than 30 years, Mr. Dodaro has held a number of key positions at GAO. For the last 9 years, Mr. Dodaro has served as the Chief Operating Officer, the number two leadership position in the agency, assisting the Comptroller General in providing leadership and vision for GAO’s diverse, multidisciplinary workforce. His day-to-day management efforts ensured that GAO met the Congress’s need for reliable, timely, and relevant information on government operations.
Full Biography
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Testimonies of the Acting Comptroller General

The Upcoming Transition: GAO’s Efforts to Assist the 111th Congress and the Next Administration, before the Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
GAO-08-1174T September 24, 2008


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