Inspectors General:

Improvements Needed to IG Oversight of Architect of the Capitol Operations

GAO-17-666T: Published: May 24, 2017. Publicly Released: May 24, 2017.

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Beryl H. Davis
(202) 512-2623
davisbh@gao.gov

 

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What GAO Found

In November 2016 GAO reported that the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) Office of Inspector General's (OIG) audit planning from fiscal year 2012 through 2015 did not include either risk assessments or assigned priorities for conducting audits consistent with Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) standards. In addition, the OIG did not adopt the CIGIE standards in its policies and procedures. Instead, for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, the former AOC Inspector General (IG) emphasized “continuous review,” which he defined as an effort to alert AOC and the Congress of contract management issues as they occurred. This approach and prior efforts did not result in any audit reports of AOC's mega projects during fiscal years 2012 through 2015. The OIG also reported a decline in total audit reports and monetary accomplishments during fiscal years 2014 and 2015 (see table). Further, the OIG provided only one audit report of an AOC jurisdiction program during the 4-year period. Because of incomplete plans, a limited number of audit reports, and the lack of audit reports of AOC's mega projects, AOC and the Congress did not have the full benefit of OIG findings and recommendations and were not kept fully and currently informed of possible AOC problems and deficiencies during the 4-year period. Therefore, GAO recommended that the OIG revise and implement policies and procedures to provide audit reports based on planning that includes risk assessment and assignment of priorities consistent with CIGIE standards

In fiscal year 2014, the former IG removed the OIG's law enforcement authority and the OIG investigators' responsibility to complete criminal investigations. Instead, in November 2016, GAO reported that the OIG's investigators have responsibility for administrative investigations and rely primarily on the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) to perform criminal investigations, and on occasion, other AOC offices perform their own investigations. USCP and AOC program offices are not subject to CIGIE standards for investigation. The OIG is required to follow CIGIE standards for investigations, which contain, among other things, explicit requirements for investigator independence, objectivity, and due professional care. These changes in investigative operations contributed in part to a decline in investigative reports and monetary accomplishments. As a result, GAO recommended that the IG obtain a peer review from another federal OIG of overall investigative operations, including consideration of the OIG's reliance on investigations performed by other entities on the OIG's behalf, and to make any needed changes based on the results of such review.

Reports of Audits and Investigations, Other Reports, and Monetary Accomplishments, Fiscal Years 2012 through 2015

Fiscal year

Audit reports

Investigative reports

Other reports

Reported monetary accomplishments

(Dollars)

2012

4

23

7

1,032,485

2013

5

30

1

444,930

2014

3

12

7

242,610

2015

2

11

1

7,260

Source: GAO analysis of Architect of the Capitol Office of Inspector General-reported data. I GAO-17-666T

Why GAO Did This Study

AOC is responsible for the maintenance, operation, and preservation of the buildings and grounds that make up the U.S. Capitol complex, including the U.S. Capitol Building, the House and Senate Office Buildings, the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, and U.S. Botanic Garden, among other facilities. The AOC OIG was established by statute in 2007, in part because of congressional concerns about time delays and cost overruns during construction of the Capitol Visitor Center. Since 2008, there have been three IGs officially appointed with the most recent being appointed in April 2017.

In November 2016, GAO issued a report on AOC OIG that addressed, among other things, the extent to which the AOC OIG developed plans and policies for oversight of AOC's jurisdictions, offices, and major contracts during fiscal years 2012 through 2015, and the extent to which oversight was provided.

This testimony is based on GAO's November 2016 report (GAO-17-25).

What GAO Recommends

GAO made two recommendations in its November 2016 report. AOC OIG agreed with the recommendations and subsequently provided additional information, which GAO is in the process of analyzing.

For more information, contact Beryl H. Davis at (202) 512-2623 or davisbh@gao.gov.

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