The IG Act directs the OIG to review proposed legislation and regulations relating to the programs and operations of the Department. Although the Department’s Office of Legislative Affairs reviews all proposed or enacted legislation that could affect the Department’s activities, the OIG independently reviews proposed legislation that affects it and legislation that relates to waste, fraud, or abuse in the Department’s programs or operations.
During this reporting period, the OIG commented on proposed legislation in the Senate that would amend the IG Act to strengthen the independence and accountability of Inspectors General. The Senate bill is a companion bill to legislation passed by the House of Representatives on October 3, 2007.
In particular, the OIG supports a provision in the legislation that would remove the limitation on the OIG’s jurisdiction within the Department. Unlike all other federal Inspectors General who are authorized to investigate misconduct throughout their entire agencies, the OIG does not have the authority to investigate allegations against Department attorneys acting in their legal capacity, including allegations against the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General. Instead, the Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility has jurisdiction to investigate such allegations. The OIG believes the limitation on its jurisdiction should be removed because it creates conflicts of interest, results in duplicative and overlapping investigations, prevents the OIG from addressing systemic issues involving Department conduct, and contravenes the rationale for establishing Inspectors General throughout the government.