How Transparent Are the Mint's Audits?

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"Hearing on the Gold Reserve Transparency Act of 2011 has House debating whether or not sufficient information is already available."

Mineweb, Dorothy Kosich

A House subcommittee's hearing on the Gold Reserve Transparency Act of 2011 basically became a debate concerning whether or not sufficient information is already available to the American public about the amount of gold the U.S. holds, and what is done to protect it.

House Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Ron Paul, R-Texas, contends two thirds of U.S. gold reserves have not been assayed or audited 25 years. "Surely a full audit every 25 years is not too much to ask," he declared.

Treasury Department Inspector General Eric Thorson contends independent annual audits of the U.S. Government's deep storage gold reserves have been conducted since fiscal year 1993.

During the fiscal year 2008 audit, Thorson's auditors sampled gold statistically representing inventory valued at $75,036,352.12. Based on the independent assayer's report on those samples, "we projected the dollar value of the difference between the fine troy ounces determined by the independent assay report and the fine troy ounces recorded in the Mint's inventory records to be $3,819.84 or 0.005% of the gold inventoried," Thorson told the subcommittee.

The U.S. Mint has previously declared that such an audit would require 1280 individuals working 1.3 million man-hours to complete the task in six months. Paul responded that since the Mint made $400 billion last year, "it could easily take care of this."

Paul accused the U.S. government of being less than transparent in releasing information relating to its gold holdings. Thorson responded "transparency is our business...those numbers are out there."

A request to allow members of the subcommittee to take a tour of Fort Knox may be under consideration by the Obama Administration. Only one member of the House and one member of the Senate were allowed to visit Fort Knox in the last official congressional tour in the 1970s.

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