H.R. 8588, a Bill To Establish an Office of Inspector General in Various Federal Departments and Agencies

Gao ID: 106567 July 25, 1978

Three issues were addressed in relation to H.R. 8588, a bill which would establish an Office of Inspector General within various departments and agencies: the extent of fraud in eight major Government agencies, problems encountered by GAO in getting access to military Inspector General reports, and the possible inclusion of the Departments of Defense and State in H.R. 8588. It was suggested that the title of the "Office of Inspector General" be changed to "Office of Auditor and Inspector General." The GAO review of fraud disclosed several problems with the Government's efforts at detection, particularly that agencies were not systematically compiling information on incidences of fraud. GAO problems in obtaining access to military inspection reports result from Department of Defense (DOD) contentions that reports are confidential and not releasable without approval by Secretaries. This denial of access is not justified since GAO has properly handled confidential information for a long time. Inspectors General of the military services do not meet independence standards required of auditors; therefore, the Inspector General function should not be combined with the internal audit function in the services. However, including a DOD Office of Auditor and Inspector General in H.R. 8588 would be feasible and desirable. There is an Office of Inspector General, Foreign Service in the State Department which differs from other agencies included in the bill. While there is no objection to including the State Department, the only benefit would be in the information reported to Congress.

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