OPR publicly discloses substantial information concerning its work. Subject to applicable privacy restrictions, OPR releases on its website summaries of concluded investigations, discloses annual compilations of statistical information concerning the complaints it receives and the number of inquiries and investigations it accepts and resolves, and provides information to various individuals and entities outside the Department. For example, in cases involving findings that implicate a state bar rule, OPR’s findings are generally referred to the appropriate state bar disciplinary authorities. In cases involving findings that relate to the work of a court, OPR generally will furnish its findings when so requested by the court. In appropriate circumstances and when properly requested by the chair of a congressional committee, the Department has provided OPR investigative reports to Congress. In addition, after completing an investigation, OPR provides the complainant with information about the resolution of the complaint.
Summaries and Reports of Investigation
Consistent with its practices and procedures, OPR publicly discloses its investigative findings and conclusions to the extent appropriate and legally permissible under privacy statutes, regulations, and other legal and policy limitations. For example, the Privacy Act limits the amount and type of information that federal agencies may publicly disclose concerning personnel actions. Therefore, in most cases, OPR discloses summaries of its investigations, which describe the allegations, basic facts, and OPR’s findings. The summaries are updated to reflect subsequent action and disposition by other entities, such as the Department’s Professional Misconduct Review Unit, the Department’s grievance official, or state attorney disciplinary authorities.
To comply with requirements of the Privacy Act, OPR does not include names or personal identifying information in the summaries of its investigations. OPR also alternates its use of female and male pronouns, regardless of the actual gender of the individual involved. OPR’s summaries contain female pronouns in odd-numbered years and male pronouns in even-numbered years.
In certain circumstances, OPR discloses an appropriately redacted copy of OPR’s report of investigation. Generally, these reports concern matters of significant public interest. In certain cases, information and evidence learned by OPR during the course of its investigation is protected from disclosure by court order, a legal privilege, or grand jury secrecy rules. In those cases, such information or evidence is redacted from the report of investigation or excluded from the summary.
OPR publicly discloses its annual reports to the Attorney General, which contain statistical information on OPR’s activities, significant policy changes and developments, and a compilation of summaries of the investigations and significant inquiries that OPR completed during the fiscal year. The statistical information includes the sources of complaints and allegations; the types of allegations made and resolved; and whether closed investigations resulted in findings of professional misconduct, poor judgment, or mistake.
OPR Policies, Practices, and Procedures
OPR also publicly discloses on its website information concerning its jurisdiction, applicable regulations and other legal authorities, and explanations of its processes for reviewing allegations and conducting investigations. In addition, OPR discloses the standards it uses to analyze professional misconduct and FBI whistleblower reprisal allegations.