U.S. Department of Justice

Office of the Inspector General

October 29, 1999

Honorable Janet Reno
Attorney General
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Madam Attorney General:

This semiannual report summarizes the work of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) during the six months ending September 30, 1999. Highlights of our work during this period include a review of how classified intelligence information pertaining to the Department’s Campaign Finance investigation was disseminated within the Department and to Congress, a review of the Bureau of Prisons’ management of inmate telephone privileges, an audit of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s efforts to ensure that its mission-critical computer systems will not be affected by the Y2K threat, and an audit of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Service’s and Office of Justice Programs’ administration of the $8.8 billion community policing grant program.

In addition to these noteworthy accomplishments, the OIG has continued to investigate, audit, and inspect Department personnel and programs in fulfillment of our statutory mandate. However, we are a very different OIG than we were one year ago.

Severe budget limitations and a resulting hiring freeze since August 1998 have adversely affected the size and distribution of OIG staff and, consequently, the number and scope of audits, inspections, and investigations that we are able to undertake. The OIG has lost more than 60 employees in the last 13 months – a reduction of 14 percent of its workforce – and has been unable to hire replacements. Moreover, the attrition has been uneven and the resulting vacancies have left holes in the coverage of critical positions in both headquarters and field offices.

Despite these budgetary constraints, we will continue to successfully meet our obligations to provide Department managers, Congress, and the public with high quality work products. To be relevant and useful to Department managers, our reports and investigations must be timely. We have recommitted ourselves to decreasing the amount of time from inception of our reviews until completion in order to meet that goal.

We thank you for the value you place on a vigorous and independent OIG, and look forward to working with you and your staff in the months ahead.



Robert L. Ashbaugh
Acting Inspector General