Need for Statutory Inspectors General at Certain Federal Agencies

T-AFMD-87-2: Published: Feb 19, 1987. Publicly Released: Feb 19, 1987.

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GAO testified on the need for statutory inspectors general (IG) at five federal agencies. GAO noted that establishing statutory IG at the Departments of Justice and the Treasury would: (1) strengthen the effectiveness and organizational independence of their internal audit and investigative units; (2) better ensure that the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, as well as Congress, receive the results of audits and investigations; and (3) give the audit and investigative units the organizational independence to make objective assessments. GAO also noted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): (1) asked its nonstatutory IG to transfer to another position after he conducted sensitive investigations; and (2) has performed little or no internal auditing on important programs, such as procurement and the management of flood or crime insurance. GAO believes that establishment of a statutory IG in FEMA would solve these problems. In 1981, GAO recommended that Congress establish a statutory IG at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) after the Three Mile Island accident and the problem of nuclear waste disposal heightened the need for greater oversight of NRC activities. GAO believes that there is still a need for independent oversight of NRC, particularly in light of the Chernobyl accident. GAO is currently reviewing the U.S. Postal Service's internal audit and investigative unit. GAO supports the concept of extending statutory IG protection and requirements to most agencies' internal audit and investigative units.

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