Delayed Response to IG Report

NSIAD-97-14R: Published: Oct 28, 1996. Publicly Released: Nov 27, 1996.

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Benjamin F. Nelson
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) the Department of the Treasury's handling of its Inspector General's (IG) 1995 report of investigation that examined allegations of misconduct by the Director of Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC); (2) whether OFAC has adopted standard operating procedures that implement its nine foreign sanctions programs; and (3) what response the Treasury has made to any prior IG managerial audits of OFAC. GAO noted that: (1) the 5 months that elapsed between the transmittal of the IG report and the Treasury response were due largely to bureaucratic delay; (2) the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement agreed to review Treasury's memorandum, the IG report, and its supporting documents and reaffirmed that he and and his counsel had concluded that the conduct cited in the IG report was neither illegal or unethical; and (3) according to the Assistant Secretary's counsel, the evidence in the IG report supported the conclusion that the OFAC Director's conduct did not violate any criminal, civil, or ethical standards. GAO also noted that: (1) OFAC has operating procedures to guide its implementation of the nine foreign sanctions programs; (2) OFAC also has a manual including its standardized procedures for assessing civil penalties for violations of sanctions; (3) OFAC established additional procedures for the implementation of the foreign sanctions program in response to IG recommendations; (4) officials from four U.S. agencies involved in coordination with OFAC reported satisfaction with the Director's coordination activities; and (5) Treasury management is taking steps to better manage OFAC.

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