Inspector General Act of 1978

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95TH UNITED STATES CONGRESS
2ND SESSION

An Act
To reorganize the executive branch of the Government and increase its economy and efficiency by establishing Offices of Inspector General within the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, and Transportation, and within the Community Services Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Small Business Administration, and the Veterans' Administration, and for other purposes.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

Section 1. Short Title.[edit]

This Act be cited as the ``Inspector General Act of 1978´´.

Sec. 2. Purpose; Establishment.[edit]

In order to create independent and objective units—
(1) to conduct and supervise audits and investigations relating to programs and operations of the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Labor, the Department of Transportation, the Community Services Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Small Business Administration, and the Veterans' Administration;
(2) to provide leadership and coordination and recommend policies for activities designed (A) to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in the administration of, and (B) to prevent and detect fraud and abuse in, such programs and operations; and
(3) to provide a means for keeping the head of the establishment and the Congress fully and currently informed about problems and deficiencies relating to the administration of such programs and operations and the necessity for and progress of corrective action;
thereby is hereby established in each of such establishments an office of Inspector General.

Sec. 3. Appointment and Removal of Officers.[edit]

(a) There shall be at the head of each Office an Inspector General who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of integrity and demonstrated ability in accounting, auditing, financial analysis, law, management analysis, public administration, or investigations. Each Inspector General shall report to and be under the general supervision of the head of the establishment involved or, to the extent such authority is delegated, the officer next in rank below such head, but shall not report to, or be subject to supervision by, any other officer of such establishment. Neither the head of the establishment nor the officer next in rank below such head shall prevent or prohibit the Inspector General from initiating, carrying out, or completing any audit or investigation, or from issuing any subpena during the course of any audit or investigation.
(b) An Inspector General may be removed from office by the President. The President shall communicate the reasons for any such removal to both Houses of Congress.
(c) For the purposes of section 7324 of title 5, United States Code, no Inspector General shall be considered to be an employee who determines policies to be pursued by the United States in the nationwide administration of Federal laws.
(d) Each Inspector General shall, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations governing the civil service—
(1) appoint an Assistant Inspector General for Auditing who shall have the responsibility for supervising the performance of auditing activities relating to programs and operations of the establishment, and
(2) appoint an Assistant Inspector General for Investigations who shall have the responsibility for supervising the performance of investigative activities relating to such programs and operations.

Sec. 4. Duties and Responsibilities.[edit]

(a) It shall be the duty and responsibility of each Inspector General, with respect to the establishment within which his Office is established—
(1) to provide policy direction for and to conduct, supervise, and coordinate audits and investigations relating to the programs and operations of such establishment;
(2) to review existing and proposed legislation and regulations relating to programs and operations of such establishment and to make recommendations in the semiannual reports required by section 5 (a) concerning the impact of such legislation or regulations on the economy and efficiency in the administration of programs and operations administered or financed by such establishment or the prevention and detection of fraud and abuse in such programs and operations;
(3) to recommend policies for, and to conduct, supervise, or coordinate other activities carried out or financed by such establishment for the purpose of promoting economy and efficiency in the administration of, or preventing and detecting fraud and abuse in, its programs and operations;
(4) to recommend policies for, and to conduct, supervise, or coordinate relationships between such establishment and other Federal agencies, State and local governmental agencies, and nongovernmental entities with respect to (A) all matters relating to the promotion of economy and efficiency in the administration of, or the prevention and detection of fraud and abuse in, programs and operations administered or financed by such establishment, or (B) the identification and prosecution of participants in such fraud or abuse; and
(5) to keep the head of such establishment and the Congress fully and currently informed, by means of the reports required by section 5 and otherwise, concerning fraud and other serious problems, abuses, and deficiencies relating to the administration of programs and operations administered or financed by such establishment, to recommend corrective action concerning such problems, abuses, and deficiencies, and to report on the progress made in implementing such corrective action.
(b) In carrying out the responsibilities specified in subsection (a)(1), each Inspector General shall—
(1) comply with standards established by the Comptroller General of the United States for audits of Federal establishments, organizations, programs, activities, and functions;
(2) establish guidelines for determining when it shall be appropriate to use non-Federal auditors; and
(3) take appropriate steps to assure that any work performed by non-Federal auditors complies with the standards established by the Comptroller General as described in paragraph (1).
(c) In carrying out the duties and responsibilities established under this Act, each Inspector General shall give particular regard to the activities of the Comptroller General of the United States with a view toward avoiding duplication and insuring effective coordination and cooperation.
(d) In carrying out the duties and responsibilities established under this Act, each Inspector General shall report expeditiously to the Attorney General whenever the Inspector General has reasonable grounds to believe there has been a violation of Federal criminal law.

Sec. 5. Reports.[edit]

(a) Each Inspector General shall, not later than April 30 and October 31 of each year, prepare semiannual reports summarizing the activities of the Office during the immediately preceding six-month periods ending March 31 and September 30. Such reports shall include, but need not be limited to—
(1) a description of significant problems, abuses, and deficiencies relating to the administration of programs and operations of such establishment disclosed by such activities during the reporting period;
(2) a description of the recommendations for corrective action made by the Office during the reporting period with respect to significant problems, abuses, or deficiencies identified pursuant to paragraph (1);
(3) an identification of each significant recommendation described in previous semiannual reports on which corrective action has not been completed;
(4) a summary of matters referred to prosecutive authorities and the prosecutions and convictions which have resulted;
(5) a summary of each report made to the head of the establishment under section 6(b)(2) during the reporting period; and
(6) a listing of each audit report completed by the Office during the reporting period.
(b) Semiannual reports of each Inspector General shall be furnished to the head of the establishment involved not later than April 30 and October 31 of each year and shall be transmitted by such head to the appropriate committees or subcommittees of the Congress within thirty days after receipt of the report, together with a report by the head of the establishment containing any comments such head deems appropriate.
(c) Within sixty days of the transmission of the semiannual reports of each Inspector General to the Congress, the head of each establishment shall make copies of such report available to the public upon request and at a reasonable cost.
(d) Each Inspector General shall report immediately to the head of the establishment involved whenever the Inspector General becomes aware of particularly serious or flagrant problems, abuses, or deficiencies relating to the administration of programs and operations of such establishment. The head of the establishment shall transmit any such report to the appropriate committees or subcommittees of Congress within seven calendar days, together with a report by the head of the establishment containing any comments such head deems appropriate.

Sec. 6. Authority; Administration Provisions.[edit]

(a) In addition to the authority otherwise provided by this Act, each Inspector General, in carrying out the provisions of this Act, is authorized—
(1) to have access to all records, reports, audits, reviews, documents, papers, recommendations, or other material available to the applicable establishment which relate to programs and operations with respect to which that Inspector General has responsibilities under this Act;
(2) to make such investigations and reports relating to the administration of the programs and operations of the applicable establishment as are, in the judgment of the Inspector General, necessary or desirable;
(3) to request such information or assistance as may be necessary for carrying out the duties and responsibilities provided by this Act from any Federal, State, or local governmental agency or unit thereof;
(4) to require by subpena the production of all information, documents, reports, answers, records, accounts, papers, and other data and documentary evidence necessary in the performance of the functions assigned by this Act, which subpena, in the case of contumacy or refusal to obey, shall be enforceable by order of any appropriate United States district court:
Provided, That procedures other than subpenas shall be used by the Inspector General to obtain documents and information from Federal agencies;
(5) to have direct and prompt access to the head of the establishment involved when necessary for any purpose pertaining to the performance of functions and responsibilities under this Act;
(6) to select, appoint, and employ such officers and employees as may be necessary for carrying out the functions, powers, and duties of the Office subject to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates;
(7) to obtain services as authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, at daily rates not to exceed the equivalent rate prescribed for grade GS-18 of the General Schedule by section 5332 of title 5, United States Code; and
(8) to the extent and in such amounts as may be provided in advance by appropriations Acts, to enter into contracts and other arrangements for audits, studies, analyses, and other services with public agencies and with private persons, and to make such payments as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.
(b)
(1) Upon request of an Inspector General for information or assistance under subsection (a)(3), the head of any Federal agency involved shall, insofar as is practicable and not in contravention of any existing statutory restriction or regulation of the Federal agency from which the information is requested, furnish to such Inspector General, or to an authorized designee, such information or assistance.
(2) Whenever information or assistance requested under subsection (a)(1) or (a)(3) is, in the judgment of an Inspector General, unreasonably refused or not provided, the Inspector General shall report the circumstances to the head of the establishment involved without delay.
(c) Each head of an establishment shall provide the Office within such establishment with appropriate and adequate office space at central and field office locations of such establishment, together with such equipment, office supplies, and communications facilities and services as may be necessary for the operation of such offices, and shall provide necessary maintenance services for such offices and the equipment and facilities located therein.

Sec. 7. Employee Complaints.[edit]

(a) The Inspector General may receive and investigate complaints or information from an employee of the establishment concerning the possible existence of an activity constituting a violation of law, rules, or regulations, or mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority or a substantial and specific danger to the public health and safety.
(b) The Inspector General shall not, after receipt of a complaint or information from an employee, disclose the identity of the employee without the consent of the employee, unless the Inspector General determines such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation.
(c) Any employee who has authority to take, direct others to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action, shall not, with respect to such authority, take or threaten to take any action against any employee as a reprisal for making a complaint or disclosing information to an Inspector General, unless the complaint was made or the information disclosed with the knowledge that it was false or with willful disregard for its truth or falsity.

Sec. 8. Semiannual Reports.[edit]

(a)
(1) The Secretary of Defense shall submit to the Congress semiannual reports during the period ending October 1, 1982, summarizing the activities of the audit, investigative and inspection units of the Department of Defense. Such reports shall be submitted within sixty days of the close of the reporting periods ending March 31 and September 30 and shall include, but not be limited to—
(A) a description of significant instances or patterns of fraud, waste, or abuse disclosed by the audit, investigative, and inspection activities during the reporting period and a description of recommendations for corrective action made with respect to such instances or patterns;
(B) a summary of matters referred for prosecution and of the results of such prosecutions; and
(C) a statistical summary, by categories of subject matter, of audit and inspection reports completed during the reporting period.
(2) Within sixty days of the transmission of the semiannual reports, the Secretary shall make copies of such reports available to the public upon request and at a reasonable cost.
(3) If the Secretary concludes that compliance with the reporting requirements in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection would require inclusion of material that may constitute a threat to the national security or disclose an intelligence function or activity, the Secretary may exclude such material from the report. If material is excluded from a report under this subsection, the Secretary shall provide the chairmen and ranking minority members of the appropriate committees or subcommittees with a general description of the nature of the material excluded.
(4) The Secretary may delegate his responsibilities under paragraphs (1) through (3):
Provided, That the delegation be to an official within the Office of the Secretary of Defense who is a Presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate. In preparing the reports, the designee of the Secretary shall have the same access to information held by the audit, investigative or inspection units as the Secretary would.
(5) In order to effectuate the purposes of this Act with respect to the Department of Defense, the Secretary of Defense shall submit, not later than March 31, 1981, proposed legislation to establish appropriate reporting procedures, for the period after October 1, 1982, concerning the audit, investigative and inspection activities of the Department of Defense.
(b)
(1) The Secretary of Defense shall establish a task force to study the operation of the audit, investigative, and inspection components in the Department of Defense which engage in the prevention and detection of fraud, waste, and abuse. The Secretary shall appoint the Director and other members of the task force:
Provided, That the Director shall be a person who is not an employee of the Department of Defense. The Director shall have the authority to hire such additional staff as is necessary to complete the study.
(2) The Director and members of the task force and, upon the request of a member or the Director, the staff of the task force shall have access to all information relevant to the study and held by the audit, investigative, and inspection components in the Department of Defense including reports prepared by such components:
Provided, That—
(A) such information or reports may be withheld if a component head determines that disclosure would compromise an active investigation of wrong-doing;
(B) the Inspectors General of the Military Departments may delete the names of individuals in a report prepared by them if the Inspector General determines that the inclusion of the names would affect the ability of the Inspector General to obtain information in future investigations and inspections; and
(C) no classified information shall be released to the task force unless the members and staff who will have access to the classified information have the appropriate clearances.
Upon the request of the Director, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretaries of the Military Departments shall assure that the task force has access to information as provided in this subsection.
(3) The task force shall prepare a comprehensive report that shall include, but not be limited to—
(A) a description of the functions of the audit, investigative and inspection components in the Department of Defense and the extent to which such components cooperate in their efforts to detect and prevent fraud, waste and abuse;
(B) an evaluation of whether such components are sufficiently independent to carry out their responsibilities;
(C) the relationship between such components and the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice; and
(D) recommendations for change in organization or functions that may be necessary to improve the effectiveness of such components.
(4) The task force shall submit its final report to the Secretary of Defense and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The Secretary and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget may, in the form of addenda to the report, provide any additional information that they deem necessary. The Secretary shall submit the report and the addenda to the Congress not later than April 1, 1980. The task force shall be disestablished sixty days following such submission.
(5) Any matter concerning the intelligence or counterintelligence activities of the Department of Defense and assigned by regulation to the Inspector General for Defense Intelligence shall be excluded from the study of the task force.

Sec. 9. Transfer of Functions.[edit]

(a) There shall be transferred—
(1) to the Office of Inspector General—
(A) of the Department of Agriculture, the offices of that department referred to as the “Office of Investigation” and the “Office of Audit”;
(B) of the Department of Commerce, the offices of that department referred to as the “Office of Audits” and the “Investigations and Inspections Staff” and that portion of the office referred to as the “Office of Investigations and Security” which has responsibility for investigation of alleged criminal violations and program abuse;
(C) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the office of that department referred to as the “Office of Inspector General”;
(D) of the Department of the Interior, the office of that department referred to as the “Office of Audit and Investigation”;
(E) of the Department of Labor, the office of that department referred to as the “Office of Special Investigations”;
(F) of the Department of Transportation, the offices of that department referred to as the “Office of Investigations and Security” and the “Office of Audit” of the Department, the “Offices of Investigations and Security, Federal Aviation Administration”, and “External Audit Divisions, Federal Aviation Administration”, the “Investigations Division and the External Audit Division of the Office of Program Review and Investigation, Federal Highway Administration”, and the “Office of Program Audits, Urban Mass Transportation Administration”;
(G) of the Community Services Administration, the offices of that agency referred to as the “Inspections Division”, the “External Audit Division”, and the “Internal Audit Division”;
(H) of the Environmental Protection Agency, the offices of that agency referred to as the “Office of Audit” and the “Security and Inspection Division”;
(I) of the General Services Administration, the offices of that agency referred to as the “Office of Audits” and the “Office of Investigations”;
(J) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the offices of that agency referred to as the “Management Audit Office” and the “Office of Inspections and Security”;
(K) of the Small Business Administration, the office of that agency referred to as the “Office of Audits and Investigations”; and
(L) of the Veterans' Administration, the offices of that agency referred to as the “Office of Audits” and the “Office of Investigations”; and
(2) such other offices or agencies, or functions, powers, or duties thereof, as the head of the establishment involved may determine are properly related to the functions of the Office and would, if so transferred, further the purposes of this Act, except that there shall not be transferred to an Inspector General under paragraph (2) program operating responsibilities.
(b) The personnel, assets, liabilities, contracts, property, records, and unexpended balances of appropriations, authorizations, allocations, and other funds employed, held, used, arising from, available or to be made available, of any office or agency the functions, powers, and duties of which are transferred under subsection (a) are hereby transferred to the applicable Office of Inspector General.
(c) Personnel transferred pursuant to subsection (b) shall be transferred in accordance with applicable laws and regulations relating to the transfer of functions except that the classification and compensation of such personnel shall not be reduced for one year after such transfer.
(d) In any case where all the functions, powers, and duties of any office or agency are transferred pursuant to this subsection, such office or agency shall lapse. Any person who, on the effective date of this Act, held a position compensated in accordance with the General Schedule, and who, without a break in service, is appointed in an Office of Inspector General to a position having duties comparable to those performed immediately preceding such appointment shall continue to be compensated in the new position at not less than the rate provided for the previous position, for the duration of service in the new position.

Sec. 10. Conforming and Technical Amendments.[edit]

(a) Section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new paragraphs:
``(122) Inspector General, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
``(123) Inspector General, Department of Agriculture.
``(124) Inspector General, Department of Housing and Urban Development.
``(125) Inspector General, Department of Labor.
``(126) Inspector General, Department of Transportation.
``(127) Inspector General, Veterans' Administration.´´.
(b) Section 5316 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new paragraphs:
``(144) Deputy Inspector General, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
``(145) Inspector General, Department of Commerce.
``(146) Inspector General, Department of the Interior.
``(147) Inspector General, Community Services Administration.
``(148) Inspector General, Environmental Protection Agency.
``(149) Inspector General, General Services Administration.
``(150) Inspector General, National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
``(151) Inspector General, Small Business Administration.´´.
(c) Section 202(e) of the Act of October 15, 1976 (Public Law 94-505, 42 U.S.C. 3522), is amended by striking out “section 6(a)(1)” and “section 6(a)(2)” and inserting in lieu thereof “section 206(a)(1)” and “section 206(a)(2)”, respectively.

Sec. 11. Definitions.[edit]

As used in this Act—
(1) the term “head of the establishment” means the Secretary of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, or Transportation or the Administrator of Community Services, Environmental Protection, General Services, National Aeronautics and Space, Small Business, or Veterans' Affairs, as the case may be;
(2) the term “establishment” means the Department of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, or Transportation or the Community Services Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Small Business Administration, or the Veterans' Administration, as the case may be;
(3) the term “Inspector General” means the Inspector General of an establishment;
(4) the term “Office” means the Office of Inspector General of an establishment; and
(5) the term “Federal agency” means an agency as defined in section 552(e) of title 5 (including an establishment as defined in paragraph (2)), United States Code, but shall not be construed to include the General Accounting Office.

Sec. 12. Effective Date.[edit]

The provisions of this Act and the amendments made by this Act shall take effect October 1, 1978.


Approved October 12, 1978.


Legislative History[edit]

  • HOUSE REPORTS:
    • No. 95-584 (Comm. on Government Operations).
  • SENATE REPORTS:
    • No. 95-1071 (Comm. on Governmental Affairs).
  • CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 124 (1978):
    • Apr. 18, considered and passed House.
    • Sept. 22, considered and passed Senate, amended.
    • Sept. 27, House concurred in Senate amendment.
  • WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 14, No. 41:
    • Oct. 12, Presidential statement.

See also[edit]