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Charles Arthur Bowsher (born May 31, 1931)[1] is an American businessman and politician. He served as the 6th Comptroller General of the United States from 1981 to 1996. During that period, he led the Government Accountability Office in addressing the savings and loan crisis and other major issues. He also served as the 5th Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller) during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration from 1967 to 1971.

Charles Arthur Bowsher
Charles Arthur Bowsher illustration, 1988.png
6th Comptroller General of the United States
In office
PresidentRonald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
Preceded byElmer B. Staats
Succeeded byDavid M. Walker
5th Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller)
In office
December 18, 1967 – June 30, 1971
PresidentLyndon B. Johnson
Preceded byCharles F. Baird
Succeeded byFrank P. Sanders
Personal details
Born (1931-05-31) May 31, 1931 (age 88)
Elkhart, Indiana, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
University of Chicago (M.B.A.)
OccupationBusinessman, accountant
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branchSeal of the United States Department of War.png United States Army
Years of service1950–1952
RankArmy-USA-OR-06.svg Staff sergeant
Battles/warsKorean War


Early lifeEdit

Bowsher was born in Elkhart, Indiana.[2] He was raised in Chicago where he would study at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He would enroll in the United States Army and serve for two years and would earn his M.B.A. degree at the University of Chicago.[2]

Early careerEdit

After graduating from the University of Chicago, he joined the firm Arthur Andersen & Co. in 1956.[2] In the firm, he played a crucial role in the firm's efforts to encourage public discussion on the need for sound financial reporting within the public sector.[2]

From 1967 to 1971, he was Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller).

Comptroller GeneralEdit

Bowsher was nominated to serve as United States Comptroller General by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. During his tenure, he was subject of the lawsuit Bowsher v. Synar, which led to the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act of 1986. He was known for his visible role during the savings and loan crisis when he addressed the Government Accountability Office.

He was instrumental in Congress' passage of the Single Audit Act of 1984, requiring annual audits for state and local governments, and the Chief Financial Officers' Act of 1990, requiring federal department and agencies to prepare financial statements and undergo annual financial audits.

Later lifeEdit

In 1996, along with William Henry Beaver, (56th), and Donald James Kirk, (58th), Bowsher was inducted into the prestigious Accounting Hall of Fame,[3] becoming the 57th inductee.

He currently[when?] serves as the Secretary-Treasurer/Budget Chairman for the Board of Directors of the Concord Coalition.[4]


  1. ^ Marquis Who's Who on the Web
  2. ^ a b c d "Charles A. Bowsher". Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  3. ^ "Membership, Accounting Hall of Fame". Ohio State University Fisher College of Business. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
  4. ^ "About Us". Concord Coalition. Archived from the original on 2010-07-31. Retrieved 2010-08-16.

External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by
Charles F. Baird
Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller)
August 2, 1971 – May 5, 1972
Succeeded by
Frank P. Sanders