Inspectors General:

Allegations About the Independence of the Former VA Inspector General

AFMD-89-46: Published: Mar 17, 1989. Publicly Released: Apr 3, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO investigated allegations that the Veterans Administration's (VA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) lacked audit independence.

GAO reviewed nine OIG audits conducted between 1981 and 1987, and found that: (1) there was no evidence that the Inspector General's (IG) independence was impaired; (2) IG made management decisions on sensitive and controversial issues involving veterans compensation, construction, and facilities projects; (3) IG issued reports on five of the audits and internal reports on the remaining four audits; (4) in those instances where OIG withheld audit reports, IG informed VA management of key audit findings and recommendations; and (5) it appeared that controversy over IG independence stemmed from differences of opinion over management decisions. GAO believes that OIG should: (1) better document the reasons for withholding audit reports; and (2) emphasize the need for independence in audit activities.

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