Government/Politics

GAO found Obama had violated law seven times during his tenure without impeachment

The Government Accountability Office found former President Barack Obama in violation of U.S. laws seven times during his two-term tenure, but Congress never sought to begin impeachment proceedings against him.

The finding comes after the GAO claimed in an eight-page memo this week that President Donald Trump broke the Impoundment Control Act by withholding congressionally appropriated aid to Ukraine last summer.

The GAO’s non-binding opinion was summarily disputed by the Office of Management and Budget, which released a memo last month arguing that the “programmatic” delay sought to fulfill, not oppose, congressional intent on delivering military aid to Ukraine.




The GAO ruled that the delay had been for “policy reasons,” not “programmatic delay.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) cited the decision in her morning press conference, as did Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that the GAO decision serves as vindication of the House impeachment against the president.

That said, the GAO works for Congress and is not an arbiter of impeachable offenses. Still, there were seven times the government watchdog found Obama in violation of U.S. law, yet no member of Congress ever introduced articles of impeachment against him.

They are, according to Breitbart News:

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and United States Secret Service (USSS) were found to have violated section 503 of the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, and the Antideficiency Act, in 2009 after the Secret Service reported that it had overspent on candidate protection in 2008 by $5,100,000, and used money from another program to cover the shortfall. DHS failed to notify Congress 15 days in advance of the “reprogramming.”
  • The Department of the Treasury was found to have violated the Antideficiency Act in 2014 when it used the voluntary services of four individuals. “Treasury did not appoint any of the individuals to federal employment, nor did any individual qualify as a student who may, under certain circumstances, perform voluntary service,” the GAO found, adding that there was no emergency that might have justified using the individuals to perform several months of work without receiving pay.


  • The Department of Defense was found to have violated the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 and the Antideficiency Act in the infamous Bowe Bergdahl swap, when President Barack Obama traded five high-level Taliban detainees for a U.S. Army deserter. The administration transferred the five Taliban from Guantanamo Bay without notifying relevant congressional committees 30 days in advance, as required by law. Republicans complained; Democrats were silent.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development was found to have violated the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, and the Antideficiency Act in 2014 when the deputy secretary of the department sent an email to “friends and colleagues” asking them to lobby the Senate in favor of a bill appropriating money to the department, and against amendments offered by Republican Senators.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency was found to have violated “publicity or propaganda and anti-lobbying provisions” in the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act and the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act in 2015 by using some of the department’s social media accounts in rule-making for the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) regulations (which have since been repealed under the Trump administration).
  • Two officials in the Department of Housing and Urban Development were found in 2016 to have violated Section 713 of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act by attempting to prevent a regional director within the agency from being interviewed by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. (Notably, the GAO reversed its earlier decision that the department’s general counsel had not violated the law once it was presented with more evidence.)



  • The Federal Maritime Commission was found to have violated Section 711 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, as well as the Antideficiency Act, in 2016 when it failed to notify the relevant Senate and House committees that it had spent more than $5,000 to furnish and redecorate the office of its former director in 2010. (The total amount spent was $12,084 over three years, as noted by the GAO in a footnote reference to an inspector general’s report on the excessive expenditures.)

Though the president temporarily withheld military aid to Ukraine last summer while he ensured, by law, that the country was sufficiently battling corruption, the GAO’s report was released on the same day Democrats transmitted their two articles of impeachment to the Senate.

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