What is the Inspector General's (IG) mission?
Per the Inspector General
Act of 1978, as amended, the Inspector General's mission is to:
- Conduct independent and objective audits, investigations and inspections
- Prevent and detect waste, fraud and abuse,
- Promote economy, effectiveness and efficiency,
- Review pending legislation and regulation, and
- Keep the agency head and Congress fully and currently informed.
How are IGs appointed and removed?
- IGs are appointed without regard to their political affiliation.
- The appointment is based on integrity and ability in:
- accounting, auditing, financial analysis;
- law, management analysis, public administration; or
- The President nominates IGs at Cabinet-level
departments and major agencies with Senate confirmation. These IGs can only be
removed by the President. The agency heads appoint and can
remove IGs at designated Federal entities. Both houses of Congress must be
notified if an IG is removed by the President or an agency head.
Are IGs independent?
Yes, IGs are independent. While by law, IG's are under the general supervision of the agency head or deputy, neither the agency head nor the deputy can prevent or prohibit an IG from conducting an audit or investigation.
The IGs are authorized to:
- have direct access to all records and information of the agency,
- have ready access to the agency head,
- conduct such investigations and issue such reports as the IG thinks appropriate (with limited national security and law enforcement exceptions),
- issue subpoenas for information and documents outside the agency (with same limited exceptions),
- administer oaths for taking testimony, and
- hire and control their own staff and contract resources.
Who oversees the IGs?
- The IGs serve under the general supervision of the agency head. Yet,
by statute, IGs have a dual and independent reporting relationship to the agency
head and to the Congress.
- Allegations of misconduct against an IG should be referred to the
Committee of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).
How are the results of an IG's work communicated?
IGs issue a variety of written reports such as:
- Audit, investigative, and inspection/evaluation reports prepared in accordance
with professional standards;
- Semiannual reports to the Congress that describe the work of the OIG within
the reporting period; and
- Immediate correspondence to the agency head to report egregious and flagrant
problems and/or abuses. The agency head then transmits this reporting, along with
any comments by the agency head, to the Congress within seven days.
IGs also must report:
- Any unreasonable refusal within the agency to provide information to the
agency head, or
- Suspected violations of Federal criminal law to the Attorney General.
How does an IG contribute to good government?
- IGs look independently at problems and possible solutions.
- They issue fact-filled reports based on professional audit, investigative,
and inspection standards.
- They provide technical and/or consultative advice as new plans are developed.
- They can perform independent investigation of allegations, as requested by
the agency head.
- IGs maintain Hotlines for employees and others to report confidential information
regarding allegations of fraud and abuse.
How can I contact an IG?
The Inspector General Directory/Homepages
at this site provides phone numbers, mailing addresses, and hotline numbers for
each IG. Links to the homepages of individual Offices of Inspectors General are
also provided, as available.