Federal agencies use civil monetary penalties to punish willful violators and deter future violations. However, if these fines aren’t regularly adjusted for inflation, they may lose their effectiveness as a deterrent. Congress enacted the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 partly to address this issue.
In 2015, Congress amended this act to require GAO to annually review agencies’ compliance with certain provisions of the act.
In this year’s review, the Government Accountability Office found that most of the 48 agencies that could be subject to the act complied with its publication and reporting requirements for the 2019 inflation adjustment.