USDOJ/OIG - Semiannual Report to Congress, October 1, 1998 - March 31, 1999

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Office of the Inspector General

OIG Profile

By Act of Congress, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) was established in the Department of Justice (Department) on April 14, 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. Many of our reports are available on the OIG's website at <>.

The OIG carried out its mission during this reporting period with a workforce averaging 440 special agents, auditors, inspectors, and support staff. The special agents are assigned to offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Dallas, El Centro, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, McAllen, Miami, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tucson. The auditors are located in offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Other OIG components—the Inspections Division, the Special Investigations and Review Unit (SIRU), the Management and Planning Division, the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), and the Inspector General's immediate office—are located in Washington, D.C. Mailing addresses and telephone and facsimile numbers for each office are listed on the OIG's website.

The OIG's Fiscal Year (FY) 1999 direct appropriation is $34.175 million through June 15, 1999. We anticipate that Congress will enact full-year funding by June 15 and that this will not create budgetary problems. The OIG also received funding of $3.46 million for its Year 2000 (Y2K) compliance effort. Additionally, the OIG expects reimbursement of (1) $2.5 million from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for audit, inspections, and investigative oversight work related to the INS User Fee account; (2) $1.25 million from the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees (EOUST) for trustee audits; (3) $7.9 million from the Working Capital Fund and other Department components for costs incurred to produce a consolidated Department financial statement audit in FY 1999; and (4) $3.8 million from the Violent Crime Reduction Trust Fund (VCRTF) for oversight of law enforcement grant programs funded through VCRTF.

This Semiannual Report to Congress reviews the accomplishments of the OIG for the 6-month period ending March 31, 1999. As required by Section 5 of the Inspector General Act of 1978 (IG Act), as amended, this Report is submitted to the Attorney General for her review no later than April 30, 1999. The Attorney General is required to forward the Report—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—to Congress no later than May 31, 1999.


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Special Inquiries

SIRU, located within the immediate office of the Inspector General (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, investigators, paralegals, and program analysts.

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. Examples of completed investigations include The FBI Laboratory: An Investigation into Laboratory Practices and Alleged Misconduct in Explosives-Related and Other Cases and The CIA-Contra-Crack Cocaine Controversy: A Review of the Justice Department's Investigations and Prosecutions. These and other OIG special investigative reports are available on the OIG's website.

Following are brief descriptions of current OIG special investigations.

Citizenship U.S.A.

In September 1995, INS initiated Citizenship U.S.A. (CUSA), a program designed to substantially reduce the backlog of pending naturalization applications. More than one million individuals were naturalized during the year the program was in operation.

In May 1997, at the request of Congress and the Attorney General, the OIG began an investigation of CUSA following allegations of misconduct within the program, including allegations that applicants with disqualifying backgrounds were naturalized and that standards were compromised in an effort to maximize the number of persons eligible to vote in the November 1996 elections.

A team of attorneys and OIG special agents, inspectors, auditors, and support personnel continues to investigate these allegations. The team has conducted more than 1,000 interviews of INS personnel and others and has reviewed tens of thousands of documents. The team is currently preparing the report of investigation.

Campaign Finance

In September 1997, the Attorney General and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) learned that classified intelligence information pertaining to the Department's campaign finance investigation may not have been appropriately disseminated within the FBI and the Department. In November 1997, the Attorney General asked the OIG to review how this intelligence information was handled. To date, the OIG has reviewed more than 17,000 pages of classified information and conducted more than 140 interviews. The team is completing the report of investigation.


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Special Inquiries

Lost Trust

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) in South Carolina conducted a major investigation called "Lost Trust" into corruption, vote-buying, influence peddling, and drug usage in the South Carolina state legislature. After litigation that lasted six years, a U.S. district judge dismissed all remaining charges, citing misconduct by the FBI, USAO, and the Department's Public Integrity Section. The court also was critical of an earlier investigation by the Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

At the request of the Deputy Attorney General, the OIG initiated a review of the prosecutions and investigations implicated in the court's dismissal order. The OIG investigative team has reviewed thousands of documents related to the investigation and prosecution of the cases and related documents generated by the Department's OPR and the FBI's OPR. The team also has interviewed the persons involved in handling these cases, including prosecutors, defense counsel, defendants, trial witnesses, and the district judge.

On November 23, 1998, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed and remanded the cases for retrial. The OIG team currently is drafting the report of investigation.


The Criminal Division's International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) and Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (OPDAT) office are designed to foster, support, and strengthen democratic principles and structures of law enforcement in foreign countries. Particularly in those countries that recently have embraced democracy, ICITAP and OPDAT provide training for police, prosecutors, and the judiciary and advice on American laws and programs to combat crime within a democratic framework.

In April 1997, the OIG began an investigation of ICITAP and OPDAT following allegations of program mismanagement and supervisory misconduct. The investigative team of special agents, auditors, inspectors, and support personnel, under the direction of a senior attorney, has conducted more than 400 interviews in the United States and several foreign countries and has reviewed more than 50,000 pages of documents. The team currently is preparing the report of investigation.


Kenneth Trentadue, an inmate held at the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was found dead in his cell in August 1995. The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) concluded that Trentadue committed suicide by hanging. However, allegations that Trentadue was murdered led to an investigation by the FBI and the Department's Civil Rights Division. The investigation concluded that there was insufficient evidence of any violation of federal criminal civil rights laws. Following that investigation and at the


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Special Inquiries


Deputy Attorney General's request, the OIG initiated a separate review focusing on whether BOP or FBI employees mishandled evidence or engaged in other misconduct in the events surrounding Trentadue's death. The team is concluding the investigative phase of the inquiry and soon will begin writing the report of investigation.

Office of Professional Responsibility

In 1997, an employee of the Department's OPR complained to the OIG that some OPR managers and employees routinely claimed reimbursement for travel expenses that were exorbitant and in violation of Department and federal travel regulations. The employee also complained that OPR had retaliated against the employee after the employee had raised within OPR a separate allegation regarding an OPR manager.

We investigated these allegations, focusing on OPR travel between 1992 and 1997. Government travelers ordinarily receive payment for meals and lodging based on established per diem rates that vary by city. Travelers may receive reimbursement for meals and lodging costs exceeding the limitations of the per diem payments only by receiving authorization for "subsistence" reimbursement. Such authorization permits the traveler to obtain reimbursement for actual costs of meals and lodging that exceed the per diem rate. However, this type of reimbursement is only permitted in special or unusual circumstances when adequate justification is provided.

Our review of OPR travel found that some OPR personnel regularly violated federal and Department travel regulations by inappropriately claiming "subsistence" reimbursement for travel expenses without adequate justification. OPR travelers obtained "subsistence" reimbursement on approximately 70 percent of the trips we reviewed. By contrast, in a sample of vouchers from other Department offices for 1993 and 1996, we found that less than 10 percent of those vouchers authorized "subsistence" reimbursement. We also found that OPR personnel often stayed at hotels costing more than the government rate, including some well-known luxury hotels. Moreover, some OPR personnel, particularly some of its managers, regularly obtained "subsistence" reimbursement for expensive meals costing significantly more than the per diem rates allowed. For example, our review found more than 100 instances in which OPR travelers received such reimbursement for meals costing from $50 to $80 each, and we found one claim for a meal costing more than $100. (For comparison purposes, the per diem rates during this time period would typically provide the traveler around $40 for all three meals in a day and incidental expenses.) In addition, we found that some OPR travelers obtained reimbursement for the cost of alcohol, including bottles of wine, which the travel regulations explicitly prohibit.

In a supplemental review, we also found that one OPR traveler used hundreds of thousands of frequent flyer miles accrued on government travel for personal uses, in clear violation of the travel regulations.

Finally, we concluded that OPR retaliated against the OPR employee who had originally complained within OPR about the separate allegation regarding an OPR manager.

Upon completion, our report was provided to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General for consideration of appropriate action.


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Special Inquiries


Civil Rights Self-Assessment

At the request of the Attorney General, the OIG led a working group that examined the Department's response to civil rights complaints made against Department law enforcement officers and other civil rights integrity issues. The working group included representatives of the Civil Rights Division and FBI as well as the OIG. The group's report, A Self-Assessment of Management Practices Affecting the Civil Rights Integrity of Department of Justice Law Enforcement Agents, describes how the Department investigates and adjudicates civil rights misconduct complaints made against Department law enforcement officers, investigates and evaluates shootings and other use of force incidents, and seeks to prevent incidents of civil rights misconduct. The report addresses such issues as timeliness of investigations, reporting use of force incidents, and notification of prosecutors. The Department is currently reviewing and establishing a process for implementing the report's recommendations.


Other Activities


Other OIG Contributions

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.

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Other Activities



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Other Activities


corrected. In addition, to the extent resources permit, we will assess actions at the component level to determine (1) if performance plans clearly depict intended performance across the Department, (2) how well performance plans discuss the strategies and resources to be used in achieving performance goals, and (3) the extent to which performance plans provide confidence that performance information will be credible.


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Other Activities


Inspector General Testimony

On March 18, 1999, the IG testified before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims to discuss the OIG's review of non-immigrant overstays and INS' efforts to correct a series of deficiencies noted in a September 1997 inspection report. On the same day, the IG testified before the House Committee on Government Reform's Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology on the Department of Justice's annual financial statement for FY 1998.

In addition, the IG testified before the Commission on the Advancement of Federal Law Enforcement on November 12, 1998, about the history, mission, and accomplishments of the OIG. The Commission was established by Congress to study and make recommendations on a variety of issues including federal law enforcement priorities for the twenty-first century, the degree of coordination among federal law enforcement agencies, and the necessity for the present number of federal law enforcement agencies and units.

Legislation and Regulations

The IG Act directs the IG 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 fraud, waste, and abuse in the Department's programs or operations.

During this reporting period, the OIG reviewed more than a dozen pieces of legislation including the Government Waste, Fraud, and Error Reduction Act of 1999; the Health Fraud and Abuse Act of 1999; and multiple versions of the Department's draft anti-crime legislative package. In addition, the OIG worked closely with BOP to develop legislation that would extend federal criminal penalties to inmates who possess contraband in contract detention facilities as well as to contract prison employees who sexually assault federal inmates in contract facilities.

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 PCIE specifies that the Office of Government Ethics, Office of Special Counsel, FBI, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) also serve as members. PCIE conducts interagency and inter-entity audits, inspections, and investigations to address government-wide waste, fraud, and abuse.

During this reporting period, the IG served on the Legislation Committee. OIG staff participate in PCIE activities—such as the Inspections Round Table, an annual investigations conference, meetings of the Chief Financial Officers Group, and the OIG GPRA


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Coordinators' Interest Group—that relate to their respective duties. In addition, OIG staff participated on an Advisory Board to the Investigations Committee of PCIE and in a PCIE-sponsored multi-agency review regarding non-tax debt collection.

The IG continues to participate in the Intelligence Community Inspector General Forum. This group consists of the IGs in agencies involved in intelligence programs and operations. The Forum meets quarterly to discuss areas of mutual interest and to coordinate IGs' joint reviews of intelligence issues.

The Audit Division is working with other OIGs to standardize federal reviews of OMB Circular A-133 audits (Single Audits). In January 1999, we provided PCIE with information on the Department's actions for monitoring the quality of audits performed at non-federal entities under OMB Circular A-133. Both the OIG and OJP provide technical assistance to recipients of non-federal funds and conduct quality control reviews of OMB Circular A-133 audits. We also reviewed PCIE's draft Uniform Quality Control Guide for A-133 Audits. The guide will be used to assess the quality of single audits submitted by non-federal agencies.

Office of Investigative Agency Policies

The OIG is a member of the Department's Office of Investigative Agency Policies (OIAP), which is composed of the law enforcement components within the Department. OIAP develops coordinated policies for Department law enforcement activities. During this reporting period, OIAP addressed a number of policies including law enforcement task forces, use of deadly force by law enforcement officers, the responsibility to warn persons of threats to life or serious bodily injury, and notification to consular offices of the arrest or detention of foreign nationals.