Inspectors General:

Handling of Allegations Against Senior OIG Officials

OSI-97-1: Published: Oct 15, 1996. Publicly Released: Oct 15, 1996.

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Donald J. Wheeler
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the handling of allegations of misconduct made against senior officials between 1990 and 1995 at the 28 Offices of Inspector General (OIG), focusing on: (1) whether the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE) and OIG had policies and procedures for handling such allegations; (2) whether PCIE and OIG followed these policies and procedures in conducting investigations; and (3) the effect of Executive Order 12993 on the handling of such allegations.

GAO found that: (1) although PCIE had not formally adopted written policy or procedures for handling allegations against inspectors general (IG) and deputy IG, it did adhere to 1982 draft procedures and a 1994 description on how it processed allegations; (2) half of the 28 OIG reviewed had written procedures for handling allegations of wrongdoing by OIG employees, 12 had informal procedures, and 2 were developing written procedures; (3) the 72 allegations that PCIE received and closed during the review period resulted in 14 investigations, none of which resulted in criminal charges or administrative action; (4) 21 of the 35 allegations that OIG received and closed against IG, deputy IG, or assistant IG resulted in investigations, and 2 of these resulted in letters of reprimand; (5) most of the investigations were conducted in a manner that met PCIE standards for independence, due professional care, objectivity, and thoroughness, although before 1994, PCIE encountered problems that affected the timeliness of its work; (6) a 1996 executive order formally authorized PCIE to review allegations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate noncriminal allegations, against IG and certain staff members; and (7) while some IG believe that the order allows them to decide what entity should investigate allegations against senior OIG officials, several PCIE members believed that allegations concerning deputy or assistant IG should automatically be referred to PCIE.

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