To the Editor:
The Winter 2010 issue of the Journal of Government Financial Management included two important' articles on the CFO Act's 20th Anniversary. But, neither article gave the story of my ground-breaking work, as a Member of the House of Representatives (and CPA), in drafting and introducing legislation to bring a Chief Financial Officer to every department and agency of the U.S. Government. The only mention of my role appeared at the end of the article by Jeff Steinhoff in a footnote which stated that "U.S. Representative Joseph J. DioGuardi introduced the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act, H.R. 4495, in March 1985 ... calling for a CFO for the federal government and the consolidation of federal financial management within a single new organization." Nevertheless, I am perplexed that my more important work two years later to introduce a stand-alone CFO Act on February 25, 1987 (H.R.1241) with 10 co-sponsors, and an enhanced version of the CFO Act (H.R. 3142) on August 6, 1987 with over 57 co-sponsors was not covered in either article. While Ed Mazur's article mentions the work that Chairman John Conyers and Ranking Member Frank Horton of the Government Operations Committee (on which I served) did to push for the passage of the CFO Act, he did not mention that it was the bill I introduced in the 100th Congress (H.R. 3142) that became the basis for the legislation they introduced and passed in 1990 in the 101st Congress, after I left the House. (Personal letters were sent to me by Chairman Conyers and Congressman Horton, and also by President George H.W. Bush, thanking me for all the work that I did over four years that set the stage for the passage of the CFO Act in 1990.) Since accountants are known and admired for fairness, objectivity, and full disclosure, I thought it appropriate to add my unique role and inside perspective to the AG A's published history of the CFO Act.
This Article was Originally Published in The American Accounting Association Journal