Justice Needs To Better Manage Its Fight Against Public Corruption

GGD-80-38: Published: Jul 24, 1980. Publicly Released: Aug 13, 1980.

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In 1977, the Department of Justice designated public corruption, which are crimes by public officials, as one of the priorities among its law enforcement activities. Justice had already established the Public Integrity Section (PIS) as a focal point for coordinating its attack on public corruption.

GAO found that management and coordination of public corruption activities by PIS need to be improved. PIS needs to effectively plan public corruption efforts and develop accurate and comparable data on these efforts. The Economic Crime Enforcement Program (ECEP), established by Justice, is an attempt to further step up its attack nationwide on white collar crime and public corruption. The ECEP goal is to neutralize jurisdictional conflicts, coordinate intelligence, and focus specialized resources on all field aspects of white-collar crime. GAO found that this new endeavor is a step in the right direction and much better than its past system.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: To ensure that public corruption activities are adequately coordinated and managed, the Attorney General should require that: (1) a standard definition of "public corruption" be delineated to enable consistent reporting of cases handled by the U.S. attorneys; (2) a system be developed and implemented to identify and classify public corruption cases to enable future evaluation of the cases handled; and (3) PIS take a more active role in managing the public corruption effort. With regard to ECEP, the Attorney General should require the development of a plan that will enable Justice to fully evaluate the success of this new program and identify areas where improvements could enhance its efforts. The Attorney General also needs to clarify the roles of this program and its relationship to the responsibilities of PIS.

    Agency Affected:


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