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When it comes to describing what they accomplished and how much it cost, not all government agencies’ annual reports are created equal. Thus concluded researchers at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in their fifth annual evaluation of the performance reports produced by the 24 highest-level federal departments regarding their work in 2003. Judging clarity, accessibility and transparency, researchers rated the departments of Labor, Transportation and Veterans’ Affairs as issuing the best reports, while Health and Human Services, Defense Department, USAID, and NASA issued the worst. While the researchers found across the board improvements from 2002, they noted common weaknesses among agencies’ reports were a lack of outcome-oriented measures achievement and a failure to link costs with results. [04/19/04]