Federal Inspectors General:

An Historical Perspective

T-AIMD-98-146: Published: Apr 21, 1998. Publicly Released: Apr 21, 1998.

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GAO discussed the evolution of the work of federal Inspectors General (IG).

GAO noted that: (1) Congress created IGs throughout government as a result of growing reports of serious and widespread internal control breakdowns; (2) IGs were principally charged with detecting fraud, waste, and mismanagement in agencies' programs and operations, conducting audits and investigations, and recommending policies to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness; (3) IGs have reported success in carrying out this mission through billions of dollars in savings and cost recoveries and thousands of prosecutions of criminal cases resulting from their work; (4) since passage of the IG Act, Congress has called for more efficient and effective management of government programs through a range of legislative initiatives that affect the way agencies operate; (5) the enactment of such statutes has not only established a framework for broad management reforms by agencies, it has also affected the IGs' role; and (6) in some cases, the IGs were provided key new responsibilities, and in other instances, they were given the opportunity to substantially influence the way agencies operate programs.

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