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Inspectors General: Department of Defense IG Peer Reviews

GAO-02-253R Published: Dec 21, 2001. Publicly Released: Dec 21, 2001.
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The 1997 peer review of the Department of Defense (DOD) Inspector General (IG) done by the Environmental Protection Agency IG resulted in a qualified opinion. The peer review report questioned the quality assurance system used by the DOD IG and said that the reviewed audits did not fully comply with Government Auditing Standards. The 2000 peer review done by the Department of the Treasury IG for Tax Administration (TIGTA) also resulted in a unqualified opinion. Although TIGTA cited several problems, the peer review report concluded that the quality assurance system used by the DOD IG reasonably ensured compliance with auditing standards. However, after the peer review had been completed, a letter was sent to Congress, the press, and others questioning the integrity of the documentation that the DOD IG provided to the TIGTA peer review staff. A DOD IG internal investigation later confirmed that the work papers for one of the audits chosen for peer review had been altered and destroyed. The report concluded that these actions violated Government Auditing Standards, internal DOD IG audit policies, and the expectations of the external peer review staff. TIGTA then withdrew its 2000 peer review opinion and issued a disclaimer of opinion in May 2001, stating that it was unable to determine whether the substantiated allegations would materially affect the DOD IG's system of quality control. As a result, the DOD IG failed to meet the requirement that it obtain a peer review at least once every three years. The DOD IG began qualifying its audit reports to explain its lack of compliance with the peer review requirements set forth in Government Auditing Standards. The 2001 peer review done by the Department of Health and Human Services IG similarly resulted in a qualified opinion. The 2001 peer review report said that the DOD IG's quality assurance system needs improvement and that audits were not always in compliance with Government Auditing Standards.

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