July 21, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC -- The Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) today approved creation of an independent task force to review and make recommendations to the Board regarding LSC's fiscal oversight responsibilities and how LSC conducts fiscal oversight of its grantees.
LSC Board Chairman John G. Levi, who proposed the task force, said it grew out of his review of Government Accountability Office reports and other issues concerning LSC following his nomination last year to the Board. "Given the number of issues that have confronted LSC in the recent past, I thought as a matter of some urgency that I wanted to get a blue-ribbon task force in place to help us take a hard look at how we conduct fiscal oversight -- how we have in the past, how we do it currently, and to give us advice on how we might best do it in the future," Chairman Levi said.
The task force's "findings and expertise will be critically important as the Board works to expand legal assistance to low-income Americans across the nation," Chairman Levi said.
The task force will seek information and advice from other grant-making organizations, accounting firms, technology experts, and other business and academic advisers familiar with institutions similar to LSC, Chairman Levi said. Current and former LSC employees will not serve on the task force, he said, "so that we get a completely independent look at our operations and we can all stand by and feel good about the process that we went through."
Board members Robert J. Grey Jr. and Victor Maddox will lead the task force, which is scheduled to issue findings and any recommendations by March 31.
"The magnitude of our challenge cannot be overstated," Chairman Levi said. "Fifty-four million Americans qualify for legal assistance from LSC programs, and these programs are vital to building stronger communities across the nation. Legal aid programs help low-income Americans when they are trying to maintain livelihoods, keep a roof over their heads or escape domestic violence. The work of legal aid programs helps bring life to our nation's promise of equal access to justice."
Established in 1974, LSC, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, receives an annual appropriation from Congress to promote equal access to justice and to provide for high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income individuals and families. More than 95 percent of the appropriation is distributed as grants to 136 independent nonprofit legal aid programs across the country.