Who Are Inspectors General?
Established by the Inspector General Act of 1978, the Offices of Inspectors General (OIG) are internal watchdogs who perform audits and investigative reviews of activities of each of their federal agencies. A total of 69 statutory OIGs exist throughout the federal government. The primary focus of the OIGs is to promote efficiency and effectiveness in governmental operations. They do this by providing oversight of federal funds.
Potential Inspectors General (IGs) are politically independent and must have an established reputation for integrity. They also usually have backgrounds in: accounting, auditing, financial analysis, management analysis, public administration, and/or law/investigations. The President selects and appoints candidates, who must then be confirmed by the Senate.
What are IGs’ Recovery Act Responsibilities?
The Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allocated $221.5 million specifically to fund efforts by Inspectors General to minimize fraud, waste and abuse of Recovery funds. Additionally, the Act named 12 IGs to the Recovery Board.
IGs are responsible for the general oversight of Recovery Act programs being administered by 27 independent agencies, the Army Corps of Engineers, and Amtrak. The Recovery Act also assigns IGs particular tasks, which include, among others:
- Providing proactive measures to minimize fraud, waste and mismanagement of Recovery funds
- Reviewing, as appropriate, any public concerns raised about specific Recovery projects or spending
- Relaying all findings of such reviews not related to an ongoing criminal proceeding to the applicable agency or department head
- Implementing effective investigations into whistleblower complaints related to Recovery Act funds and into allegations of reprisals against whistleblowers
- Making reviews and audits available on the IG’s Recovery websites and providing them to Recovery.gov for posting
- Providing monthly status reports activities and making them available on the IG’s Recovery webpages and to Recovery.gov
- Posting the strategic and operational work plans on the IG’s Recovery webpages and providing to Recovery.gov
How do IGs Respond to Allegations of Fraud, Waste or Abuse?
Generally, IG investigators first determine whether the allegations constitute a federal violation. If they do, investigators will consult with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to discuss whether prosecution would be likely should the allegations prove to be true. Like other federal agents, IG investigators keep in touch with DOJ as their investigation develops, and if the evidence warrants, prosecution will result. But even if the evidence falls short of proving a criminal or civil violation, IG investigators can pursue debarment of the company or individual involved from ever receiving federal funds again.
For details on the IGs oversight actions and training to date see, IG Recovery activities.
Not pictured above: David L. Hunt, FCC; Allison Lerner, National Science Foundation; Peggy E. Gustafson, Small Business Administration.