Definition: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency within the U.S. government that provides oversight of public spending and audits the performance of federal departments, agencies, and programs. The goal of the GAO is to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and effectively. The GAO works to promote transparency, strengthen accountability, and improve the performance of government programs. Meaning: Government Accountability Office is the watchdog of the federal government and serves to protect the interests of taxpayers by investigating complaints and issues, conducting audits, and issuing reports to Congress on the performance and management of government programs and agencies. The GAO is an important tool for providing oversight and accountability of federal spending and promoting better government operations and decision making. Examples of GAO activities include reviews of federal new initiatives and programs, investigations of fraud and waste, and analysis of proposed legislation.