Introduction [Note: The creator of this writing was an auditor/Commander with the Air Force Audit Agency]

I don't believe that they will ever be an on-site audit/review of the surpluses, but there is such a possibility.

If a decision is made to have an audit/detailed review of the government in order to identify surpluses, then there are some items that need to be considered.

No One is Unbiased

The government (bureaucrats and politicians) naturally want the status quo and will do/say anything to keep it that way. So they are biased toward the fact that there are no surpluses. However, if you select independent taxpayers to determine what is or is not surplus, some will want to immediately declare one half the bureaucrats/politicians salaries as surplus and go from there. So neither side is unbiased in this matter.

The Government Should Not Pay or Provide the Audit Team

You should not allow the government to conduct an on-site audit of surpluses or allow the government to hire an outside firm to conduct the audit. If you do you will not like the results.

In fact, there may even be a possibility that they would be no surpluses but a recommendation of tax increases. You may laugh at this, but remember no one bites the hand that feeds it.

Use only qualified auditors/accountants/financial personnel as audit/review team members (hereafter referred to as the “team.”)

The conduct of the review will go more smoothly if qualified individuals are used as team members. Preferably team members should not have strong political ties to a particular political party. A politically balanced membership is preferred.

Qualified retired personnel are a good source to consider. They probably will be able to conduct themselves professionally and may reduce the resistance of using active working individuals who may have a career agenda to enhance. A mix would be OK. Place a retiree as the team’s manager.

Pay or Not Pay Team Members

Decisions need to be made on whether to pay the team members or not. The amount of pay and the duration of the team’s engagement need to be considered and decided on.

If team members are paid by the hour and there is no deadline on completion of the review it may take considerably longer than if there is:

  • An hourly rate of pay and a deadline on when the review will be completed, or

  • An hourly rate of pay and a deadline on when the review will be completed, with a considerably lesser hourly rate if the review exceeds the deadline.

Who is going to pay the team members and where will the equipment/supplies and clerical staff come from?

Team Members’ Selection Criteria

What criteria will be used to select the team members? Who will make the selections? These need to be considered.

Team Members' Instructions

All team members should be instructed on the purpose of the review and each should sign an agreement that matters not relating to the identification of surpluses will not be pursued, discussed or reported on in any way during or after the review. You don't want glory-happy pseudo-whistle blowers destroying the objectives of the review.

It should be strictly enforced that the review shall be in strict confidence from the beginning of the review to the final report and no information regarding the results or planning in the review shall be disclosed to anyone, especially members of the news media directly or indirectly, until after the final report is published for public review. Remember the politicians, bureaucrats, and news media will use a media blitz to try to discredit the review team’s efforts and they probably will “leak” false information for publication. The review team should maintain its confidentiality until the bitter end.

The Team's Authority

The review team needs to have the authority to review all financial and other data available pertaining to the potential existence of surpluses.

The review team’s authority should be limited to determining whether surpluses exist and what action should be taken about the surpluses. The review team is not conducting a management audit. The review team should have no authority and should not concern itself with:

  • Management manners or decisions
  • Irregularities or “creative accounting” techniques identified
  • Questionable conflicts of interest or other such matters pertaining to the operation of the government not related to identifying surpluses.

If any of the above are identified, they should not be reported on, discussed with outsiders, or pursued.

Any member of the team that violates these standards should be dismissed from the team.

The Review Process

The review process is a very important aspect of insuring that both sides have an equal opportunity to have sufficient input to the end result, although the reviewers have a slight edge.

Initial report

The initial report should contain the following:

  • What was reviewed.
  • Each finding and corresponding recommendation listed together.
  • Instructions to the government requesting comments on each finding and recommendation.

Initial report submitted to government for comments

A reasonable amount of time must be provided for the government to respond to each finding and recommendation.

Final report

The final report is an expansion of the initial report and should contain the following items in this order:

a. What was reviewed

b. For each finding-recommendation set

  • The review teams initial finding and recommendation
  • Government’s comments to the finding and recommendation
  • Comments on dissenting team members on finding or recommendation
  • The majority decision of the review teams final finding and recommendation

c. Action to be taken on final report

  • Items that need arbitration or mediation
  • Action to take and time table on items that do not need arbitration or mediation

d. Make the detailed report (items a, b, and c above) available to the public

Prepare a good and proper summary of the report in layman's terms and attempt to have it published in the news media in its entirety rather than allowing the news media to put its own spin on the report while revealing some of its contents, and maybe not everything. The report and news media spin should be published separately in the news media.

You need to have a good plan of attack on this matter because the news media will always want to include or not include certain items depending on what they have been instructed from Goliath to portray to the American people. Do a lot of "What if" scenarios with contingency plans. It is very important that what the review team found is properly reported in the news media, the main source of Goliath's propaganda.

Anticipate Strong Opposition/Legal Action

Governments and those that control governments will not give up their control of the people or the peoples’ wealth without a fight. Anticipate legal action on any finding and recommendation, or possibly every finding and recommendation. The government has unlimited resources to challenge anything, because it uses your money. Attempt to prevent the government from hiring private legal help on their legal challenges. These costs will be huge, pork for government lawyers, and it's your money.

Consider establishing an arbitration or mediation approach for disagreements in the final report. Try to use anything but the legal/court system. Goliath owns the legal/court system. This could drag on for years and the lawyers and courts will eat up any surpluses found and then some.

We suspect that a judge will immediately place an injunction on the returning of surpluses, "...until all legal actions have been resolved on this matter." If this happens you lost and the lawyers and judges will end up with most of the surpluses and many years will have transpired.

Remember, he who writes the rules wins. The people must write the rules here. If the people allow governments, politicians and those who control our governments to write the rules, the people will lose again.