GAO Report on Federal Law’s Sexual Abuse Reporting Requirements in Amateur Sports May Be Imminent

Published March 17th, 2015, Uncategorized

by Irvin Muchnick

 

A long-awaited report by the Government Accountability Office – the first step in now-retired Congressman George Miller’s investigations of sexual abuse and cover-up at USA Swimming – may be released as early as next month.

Sources close to the minority on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce told Concussion Inc. that the GAO report is expected to be published in April or May.

Committee counsel Brian Kennedy did not respond to our request for comment.

On June 18, 2013, California Democrat Miller, then the committee’s ranking minority member, wrote to the GAO comptroller general: “Recent reports about the abuse of student athletes participating in public and private swim clubs have raised a number of new concerns about whether we have adequate laws and policies in place to prevent and address such abuse. Accordingly, I write today to supplement my July 2012 request to include information about the prevalence of abuse among student athletes and the manner in which such abuse cases are reported, investigated and resolved.” 

How significant a step the GAO report will prove to be in spurring USA Swimming accountability and oversight is debatable. The Education and Workforce Committee’s Republican majority rejected Miller’s calls for public hearings. More recently, witnesses to the 2013-14 investigation by Miller’s minority staff have been frustrated in their efforts to get the current staff (some of whom are holdovers from Miller’s employ) to facilitate public release of the full information in their extensive interviews. The committee’s excuse, that staff has only notes and summaries, rather than transcripts, is expedient.

On the other hand, some sources describe House Democrats – including Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Miller’s successor as informal lead monitor of the sports sex abuse issue – as enthusiastic about carrying on the investigation, and insistent that the GAO report will provide a foundation for building on more aggressive probes and consideration of comprehensive legislative solutions.

Our conclusion is militantly equivocal: We shall see.