Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility Jurisdiction

OGC-94-24: Apr 15, 1994

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At the request of Congress, GAO reviewed certain jurisdictional issues pertaining to the Justice Department's Inspector General (IG) and the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). This request stemmed from controversy within the Justice Department concerning the two offices' jurisdiction over misconduct matters involving Department employees, and asked that we examine the circumstances surrounding the jurisdictional dispute as well as options for its resolution.

We see two basic options for addressing the jurisdictional issues between OPR and OIG. First, short of merger, OPR's jurisdiction over allegations of employee misconduct could be modified either legislatively or administratively to include only these matters involving the exercise of prosecutorial or litigative discretion. As Congress recognized in enacting the 1988 Amendments, the second option of merging OPR's functions with respect to employee misconduct investigations into OIG would promote the basic principles underlying the Act.