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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Inspector General (IG) operations at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), focusing on: (1) the handling of investigations and audits; (2) the allocation of investigative resources; (3) the types of audits being performed; and (4) how certain requirements of the Inspector General Act of 1978 are being met.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of the Inspector General 1. To help ensure proper implementation of sections 7(b) and 5(d) of the Inspector General Act of 1978, the Inspector General, EPA, should establish: (1) procedures that allow for information provided to or acquired by the IG during the course of an audit or investigation to be made available to persons having a need for such information, while also protecting the identity of an employee making a complaint; and (2) guidelines for determining when matters are "serious or flagrant" and therefore should be reported under section 5(d) of the Inspector General Act.
Closed - Implemented
The agency does not agree with the second part of this recommendation. It is not sure it would be possible to visualize all possible circumstances and develop criteria for identifying serious or flagrant matters and believes specific criteria could restrict the ability of the IG to take necessary actions.
Office of the Inspector General 2. In order that investigative resources be used more effectively, the Inspector General, EPA, should provide appropriate guidance for determining which matters to investigate, considering the dollar amount involved, the seriousness of the allegation, and the administrative remedies that are available to program officials.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Office of the Inspector General 3. The Inspector General, EPA, should initiate adequate quality control procedures to ensure that hotline allegations are appropriately developed and that investigations and investigative reports are consistent with guidance established in the agency's Investigator's Handbook and are of uniform high quality.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

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