By Act of Congress, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) was established in the Department of Justice (Department) on April 4, 1989. The OIG investigates alleged violations of criminal and civil laws, regulations, and ethical standards arising from the conduct of the Department's employees in their numerous and diverse activities. The OIG provides leadership and assists management in promoting integrity, economy, efficiency, and effectiveness within the Department and in its financial, contractual, and grant relationships with others.
The OIG has jurisdiction to conduct audits and inspections throughout the entire Department. The OIG's jurisdiction to conduct criminal or administrative investigations of misconduct by Department employees extends throughout most of the Department. However, Attorney General Order 1931-94 sets forth the limits of the OIG's jurisdiction to investigate allegations of misconduct against employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as well as Department attorneys. According to the 1994 Order, the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility (FBI OPR) and the DEA's Office of Professional Responsibility (DEA OPR) have jurisdiction to investigate allegations of misconduct against employees of their agencies. The Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (DOJ OPR) has jurisdiction to investigate allegations of misconduct against Department attorneys that relate to the attorneys' exercise of their authority to investigate, litigate, or provide legal advice. The OIG may investigate other allegations of misconduct against Department attorneys. If assigned by the Deputy Attorney General, the OIG may investigate allegations of misconduct that are within the jurisdiction of the FBI OPR, DEA OPR, or DOJ OPR. The OIG consults with these offices to determine which office has jurisdiction to investigate a particular matter.
The OIG's Fiscal Year (FY) 2000 direct appropriation was $40.235 million. Additionally, the OIG earned reimbursements of (1) $2.1 million from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for audit, inspections, and investigative oversight work related to the INS User Fee account; (2) $1.6 million from the Working Capital Fund and other Department components for oversight of financial statement audit work; and (3) $1.25 million from the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees (EOUST) for trustee audits.
This Semiannual Report to Congress (Report) reviews the accomplishments of the OIG for the 6-month period ending September 30, 2000. As required by Section 5 of the Inspector General Act of 1978 (IG Act), as amended, this Report is submitted no later than October 31, 2000, to the Attorney General for her review. No later than November 30, 2000, the Attorney General is required to forward the Report to Congress along with her Semiannual Management Report to Congress that presents the Department's position on audit resolution and follow-up activity discussed in the Report.
Information about the OIG and its activities is available on the OIG's website at http://www.usdoj.gov/oig.
Representatives from the OIG testified before three congressional oversight committees during the current reporting period. On April 6, 2000, Glenn A. Fine, then Director of the OIG's Special Investigations and Review Unit (SIRU), discussed the OIG's review of federal inmates' use of prison telephones during a hearing called by the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Criminal Justice Oversight. Mr. Fine testified about the OIG's findings that a significant number of federal inmates use prison telephones to commit serious crimes while incarcerated and that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) had taken insufficient steps to address this abuse of prison telephones by inmates.
Deputy Inspector General (IG) Robert L. Ashbaugh testified on September 7, 2000, before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims about the OIG's review of the INS's Citizenship U.S.A. (CUSA) initiative. Mr. Ashbaugh reported on the OIG's findings that CUSA's ambitious production goals produced pressure in INS field offices that had an adverse impact on the quality of naturalization adjudications, that INS adjudicators' inquiries were often limited by the unavailability of applicant criminal history checks and permanent files, and that these problems had existed for many years prior to CUSA.
On September 21, 2000, Acting IG Fine testified before the House Judiciary Committee about the OIG's findings of misconduct and mismanagement at three offices in the Department's Criminal Divisionthe International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT), and Office of Administration.
President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency Activities
The President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE) consists of the 27 Presidentially appointed IGs in the federal government. In addition, the executive order creating the PCIE specifies that the Office of Government Ethics, Office of Special Counsel, FBI, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) also serve as members. The PCIE conducts interagency and inter-entity audits, inspections, and investigations to address government-wide waste, fraud, and abuse.
During this reporting period, Mr. Ashbaugh, then Acting IG, served on the Legislation Committee. Mr. Ashbaugh also served on the PCIE working group that drafted a proposed strategic plan for the PCIE and served as an informal liaison for the PCIE to track and report on plans to implement the Administrative Disputes Resolution (ADR) Act, particularly relating to issues of confidentiality and access to records of ADR proceedings.
OIG staff participate in a variety of PCIE activities and serve on numerous PCIE committees and subgroups, including the Inspections and Evaluations Roundtable, an annual investigations conference, meetings of the Chief Financial Officers' Group, the OIG GPRA (Government Performance and Results Act) Coordinators' Interest Group, the Standards Training Committee, and the Information Technology (IT) Roundtable.
The Inspections Division represented the OIG at the newly formed PCIE/ECIE (Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency) Misconduct Research Working Group. The National Science Foundation is leading this initiative to address current models for investigation and adjudication of misconduct cases.
The PCIE IT Roundtable expressed an interest in the automated security software the Audit Division uses to perform sophisticated security reviews of sensitive Department network computer systems. The Audit Division provided a demonstration of the software and process for conducting these reviews. PCIE IT Roundtable members requested additional information and guidance on how to implement these audit procedures.
As part of the 3-year peer review cycle, the Audit Division is conducting a peer review of the audit operations of the Social Security Administration OIG and is undergoing a peer review of our audit operations by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation OIG.
To assess federal efforts to develop and implement programs to protect the nation's critical infrastructures, the PCIE is sponsoring a four-phase audit with the participation of more than 20 OIGs. The Audit Division completed its contribution to the first phase of the audit by assessing the Department's efforts to develop plans for protecting cyber-based infrastructures. The Audit Division plans to participate in the remaining phases of the audit, which will review (1) efforts to develop plans to protect noncyber-based infrastructures, (2) implementation of plans to protect the cyber-based infrastructures, and (3) implementation of plans to protect noncyber-based infrastructures.
The PCIE recognized Special Agent Ronald Holland of the Investigations Division El Paso Field Office with its PCIE Award for Excellence in Investigations in recognition of his exceptional investigative efforts that resulted in a felony conviction against a former BOP correctional counselor for repeatedly engaging in abusive sexual contact with inmates. This conviction is one of the first felony convictions ever against a BOP correctional counselor for abusive sexual contact with an inmate. The former BOP employee was sentenced to more than 12 years' incarceration and to 3 years' supervised release. Additional information about this case appears on page 16.
A number of OIG special investigations are of significant interest to the public and Congress and of vital importance to the Department. Teams working on these cases include senior attorneys, special agents, auditors, and inspectors. Many OIG special investigative reports are available on the OIG's website.
Following are brief descriptions of recently completed OIG special investigations.
On August 31, 1995, the INS launched CUSA, a program designed to substantially reduce the backlog of pending naturalization applications in FY 1996. More than one million individuals were naturalized during the year the program was in operation.
By early summer 1996, the media raised allegations concerning the integrity of the INS's naturalization processing, including allegations that applicants with disqualifying backgrounds had been naturalized. At the request of Congress and the Attorney General, the OIG investigated CUSA to determine whether the integrity of the naturalization process had been compromised and, if so, the reasons for the failures.
On July 31, 2000, the OIG issued its 684-page report, An Investigation of the Immigration and Naturalization Service's Citizenship USA Initiative. Our review found that the INS compromised the integrity of naturalization adjudications as a result of its efforts to process applicants more quickly and meet a self-imposed goal of completing more than a million cases by the end of FY 1996. We found that the INS did not address known processing weaknesses before implementing a major program that would place significant new burdens on the system. Problems of which INS managers were aware by the summer of 1995 included inconsistent application of adjudication criteria such as ìgood moral characterî and English language standards, widespread use of temporary files that necessarily meant that adjudicators were not reviewing an applicant's immigration history before making a determination about naturalization, and inadequate criminal history checking procedures that had been thoroughly documented in 1994 by both the OIG and General Accounting Office (GAO).
We also investigated an allegation that adjudication standards were compromised because of political efforts to maximize the number of persons eligible to vote for the Democratic Party in the November 1996 elections. We concluded that when the INS Commissioner and her staff launched CUSA in the summer of 1995, they sought to reduce the massive naturalization backlogs and were not acting out of partisan political motives. Although we found that the Vice President's National Performance Review (NPR) did become involved in CUSA in early 1996 after complaints from various community organizations about the substantial naturalization backlog, we found that this involvement had little direct impact on the program. We did find that the involvement from the NPR served to bring the delays in CUSA to the attention of high-level Department managers and was one of many factors that led the INS to recommit itself to achieving its production deadlines for the program.
We made 25 recommendations to the INS regarding the naturalization processing problems we found in our investigation. We made recommendations to strengthen each of the primary components of the naturalization process, including the interview and adjudications procedures, the use of applicant files, and criminal history checking procedures. We also made recommendations to correct the INS's failure to provide Congress with reliable information.
The Criminal Division's ICITAP and OPDAT provide training for police, prosecutors, and the judiciary in foreign countries and advice on American laws and programs to combat crime within a democratic framework. The Criminal Division's Office of Administration handles personnel, budget, procurement, and computer services for the Criminal Division.
The OIG began an investigation following allegations that ICITAP managers were violating security regulations. This investigation was broadened when the OIG received allegations of program mismanagement and supervisory misconduct at ICITAP, OPDAT, and thU Office of Administration. In September 2000, the OIG released its 415-page report, An Investigation of Misconduct and Mismanagement at ICITAP, OPDAT, and the Criminal Division's Office of Administration, within the Department and to Congress.
We substantiated many of the allegations, and we concluded that several managers in these three offices abused their government positions for personal benefit and violated government regulations concerning security, travel, ethics, personnel management, and contracts. We found that two senior managers misused their government positions to improperly obtain visas for two Russian women, one of whom previously had been denied a visa. Certain managers provided classified information to persons who did not hold security clearances, failed to properly secure classified information, improperly took classified material home, and improperly certified to United States embassies that individuals had security clearances when they did not. We also found that certain managers improperly traveled business class on trips to Russia and improperly used frequent flyer miles accrued from government travel for their personal benefit.
In addition, ICITAP, OPDAT, and Office of Administration managers violated government contract regulations by failing to distinguish between government employees and contractors and by using contractors in managerial positions. We also determined that managers failed to adequately oversee contracts.
We recommended that the Department discipline or seek reimbursement from six current or former employees. In addition, we made suggestions for improvement in the areas of security, travel, training, and ethics.
SIRU, located within the immediate office of the IG, investigates high profile or sensitive matters involving Department programs or employees. SIRU also reviews allegations of misconduct against OIG personnel. SIRU is composed of attorneys, special agents, program analysts, and administrative personnel.
During this reporting period, in addition to working on special inquiries, SIRU completed investigations of allegations of other administrative matters involving Department officials. The following were among those investigations:
OTHER OIG ACTIVITIES
OIG semiannual reports feature the major investigations and programmatic reviews performed by the OIG during the past six months. In addition, the OIG has engaged in other noteworthy activities that significantly contribute to the Department and the governmental community.
LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS
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 or legislation that relates to waste, fraud, or abuse in the Department's programs or operations.
During this reporting period, the OIG reviewed several dozen pieces of legislation, including a Senate proposal to amend the IG Act to increase the efficiency and accountability of OIGs and legislation to provide an independent statutory basis for firearms, arrest, and warrant powers for OIG special agents.
The OIG also commented on the Government Information Security Act of 2000, which would provide a comprehensive framework for ensuring the effectiveness of controls over information and information resources that support government operations. The legislation proposes that OIGs perform an audit of the yearly evaluation by their Department of the information security programs at their respective agencies. In addition, the OIG commented on the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act of 2000, a bill that seeks to encourage greater public accountability of law enforcement agencies. Finally, the OIG reviewed legislation that would require agencies to conduct recovery audits to detect potential overpayments in certain contracts.