Lindsay Carter Warren, a North Carolina Democrat who earned the nickname "the watchdog of the Treasury" while serving as Comptroller General of the U.S. from 1940 to 1954, died Dec. 28, of pneunonia in the Beaufort County Hospital, in Washington, N.O. He was 87.
An outspoken man Mr. Warren was often highly visible as he ran the Government Accounting Office during both World War II and the Korean War.
During [WORD ILLEGIBLE] appearance before a Senate committee Mr. Warren created a stir by attacking the way agencies attempt to rationalize their work and existence.
"Any bureau can put up a case, at least to suit itself, why it should be retained," Mr. Warren told the committee. "Congress ca met up a bureau for the edification of the Three Blind Mice or the Rehabilition of Humpty Dumpty, and within a year those who head them can come in with glowing accounts of their work."
In a 1951 appearance before the Senate Subcommittee on Ethics in Government, Mr. Warren commented while testifying on government contracting and financial operations:
"A few rotten apples may not contaminate the whole barrel, but they certainly make it smell."
Politics and government service were Lindsay Carter Warren's life. A native of Washington, N.C., he studied at the University of North Carolina, for two years and was admitted to the bar in 1912.
That same year Mr. Warren was named Beaufort County Attorney, and chairman of the country Democratic party, both posts he held until his election to Congress in 1925.
Mr. Warren served for eight terms as the Representative from North Carolina's first congressional district, and accepted the GAO post only after it had been offered, and he had turned it down, on three earlier ocassions.
When Mr. Warren resigned from the GAO in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower accepted the resignation, writing:
"You have left a lasting mark on government . . . and can take deep pride in so vast a contribution to better, more efficient governmental operations."
Mr. Warren once called the GAO the "last remaining bulwark for the protection of the taxpayers against the illegal and erroneous expenditure of the public substance."
Mr. Warren was proud to point out that between 1941 and 1954 the GAO collected $915 million, mos of which had been "illegally or otherwise improperly paid out," while he ran the agency for half that amount of money.
In 1950 Mr. Warren headed the effort to defeat a proposal that the GAO be disbanded so that its functions could be turned over to the Treasury. When he retired four years later he said in a letter to Congressmen that the GAO "has not only paid its own way, but has made a substantial contribution to the Treasury each year.
During his tenure in office Mr. Warren succeeded in establishing the proceedure of conducting commercial type audits of all government corporations. He also cut the number of GAO personnel from a peak of 14,906 in 1946 to 5890 in 1954.
Mr. Warren is survived by his wife, Emily H., of the home in Washington, N.C.; two sons, Charles, of Chevy Chase and Lindsay C. Jr., of Goldsboro, N.C.; a daughter, Emily Jones, of Wilson, N.C.; four grandchildren and two grandchildren.