Semiannual Report: April 1, 2011- September 30, 2011

OIG-12-1: Dec 15, 2011

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This is a publication by GAO's Inspector General that concerns internal GAO operations. In accordance with Section 5 of the Government Accountability Office Act of 2008 (GAO Act), this is the semiannual report for the 6-month period ending September 30, 2011. We’ve made significant progress during this reporting period in our efforts to complete our transition to a statutory Office of Inspector General (OIG). For example, we (1) issued GAO Order 0130.1.23, Office of the Inspector General, which incorporates our new statutory authorities in describing the organization, mission, authorities, and responsibilities of our office; (2) updated our policies and procedures manual for audits and nonaudit services; and (3) standardized our engagement processes, procedures, and documentation requirements to help ensure full compliance with government auditing standards and other applicable professional standards. We also continued our efforts to strengthen our quality control system by updating our investigation policies and procedures. We recognize that other changes to our quality assurance framework may be needed as we complete our transition to the role of a statutory OIG. As a result, we do not anticipate participating in a peer review until we have completed this transition and have conducted and fully addressed any recommendations resulting from at least two additional internal inspections. During this reporting period, we completed our planning survey to identify potential risks in GAO’s procurement activities and areas for future work. Following the survey, we initiated an audit of Contracting Officer Representative (COR) training. Two other engagements were also initiated during this reporting period: (1) an audit of GAO’s use of recruiting, relocation, and retention incentives, and (2) our independent evaluation of the effectiveness of GAO’s information security program and practices for fiscal year 2011.

Regarding our efforts to identify potential fraud, waste, and abuse, the OIG’s hotline is our primary source of complaints. We had a total of 164 complaints, 11 of which were open at the start of this 6-month reporting period and 153 were new complaints received during the period. The 11 open cases from the prior semiannual reporting period covered a wide range of subjects, such as issues related to telework, transit benefits, access to GAO ‘s computer network, management of a computer data center, a former employee volunteering to work, and the loss of GAO records management functions. Of these 11 cases, we closed 7—3 because of no basis for further action and 4 after conducting investigations. During the current reporting period, we received 153 new complaints. Seventy-nine of the 153 complaints concerned matters related to other federal agencies and were referred to GAO’s FraudNet—a governmentwide hotline operated by GAO staff that receives complaints of fraud, waste, and abuse of federal funds. Of the remaining 74 complaints received during the reporting period, we (1) closed 3 complaints after we conducted investigations. We assisted another OIG in reviewing transit benefits that were improperly paid to a GAO employee after he left the federal agency. The other closed investigations included issues relating to a GAO employee’s prior employment and a contractor employee making unauthorized international phone calls. The case involving the unauthorized phone calls led to the recovery of $11,266 in funds for phone calls ($3,549) and lost labor time ($7,717). In addition, GAO strengthened controls to prevent unauthorized long-distance phone calls, (2) closed an additional 61 complaints when we determined there was no basis for additional action, (3) referred 8 complaints—7 to other GAO units and 1 to another agency—for action that involved such issues as travel card misuse, security of GAO’s electronic financial disclosure process, excessive requests for top secret clearances, and abuse of GAO’s room booking system.

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