Office of the Inspector General Semiannual Report Sheds Light on Corruption in Federal Agencies
WASHINGTON — In the Office of the Inspector General’s semiannual report to Congress, the department laid out its recent successes, its future plans and it’s frustration with its inability to access certain records.
The OIG is a nationwide workforce of over 440 people who work as part of the Department of Justice to review complaints, allegations of fraud and other misconduct in federal and state programs.
From April to the end of September the OIG Investigations division received 43,037 allegations. However, the OIG only closed 205 investigations in that same period of time. Investigations conducted by the OIG during that timeframe resulted in 60 arrests, 71 indictments and over $16 million in monetary recoveries.
Of all the cases the OIG opened during the six-month period, official misconduct investigations were the most prevalent with the OIG opening 62 cases. Force, abuse and rights violations came in second with 27 cases opened during the same timeframe.
The semiannual review also works as a “best of” for the department, highlighting the successes of the agency in each of the areas they investigated.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation
During the six-month timeframe the OIG received 473 complaints regarding the FBI. Most of the complaints involved official misconduct and the bulk of them were handed over to the FBI to investigate internally, according to report.
At the end of the timeframe the OIG had 49 open criminal investigations into official misconduct involving FBI employees.
In one example, an FBI Special Agent for the District of Colombia was found to have been ingesting heroin seized for evidence and then attempted to avoid detection by cutting said heroin with creatine and falsified evidentiary documents.
Two other employees were investigated for falsifying reports, charges that usually carry jail-time, but the agents were given probation instead. One of the reports included an agent who fraudulently claimed an unknown person had opened a bank account in his name and made multiple purchases. It was found that the agent and his wife had in fact opened the account and made the purchases themselves.
The OIG is continuing to investigate the FBI’s use of bulk telephony data obtained by the National Security Agency and the FBI’s use of Section 215 orders under the Patriot Act from 2012 through 2014.
Federal Bureau of Prisons
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) received the most complaints of any agency investigated by the OIG. The OIG received 3,943 complaints involving BOP employees with the majority of the complaints being sent back for internal review, according to the report.
At the end of the timeframe the OIG had 209 open criminal investigations into BOP misconduct.
In one example, a BOP correctional officer was arrested in Easter California for allegedly being involved in a child sex trafficking ring. Two other BOP officers in Arizona were indicted for sexual abuse in an Arizona prison, the report stated.
U.S. Marshals Service
The U.S. Marshals Service received 361 complaints mostly involving ethics violations and official misconduct. At the end of the six-month period the OIG had 44 open cases of official misconduct against USMS employees.
One of the investigations included a USMS employee who created a “hostile work environment” by physically challenging any employees that disagreed with him. The employee also made sexual comments to a police officer with a local department as well as referencing to “his and other’s genitals.” After the investigation the U.S. Marshal informed the President and the USMS that he was retiring.
The OIG is currently investigating the USMS hiring practices after multiple allegations of nepotism, favoritism and quid pro quo arrangements.
The Drug Enforcement Agency
During their investigative timeframe the OIG investigated 439 complaints against DEA agents for mostly official misconduct. The OIG currently has 52 open cases against DEA agents for official misconduct.
In one case, a DEA employee in Tennessee claimed up to 500 hours in false overtime totaling in more than $13,000 of time he did not work. The employee has since resigned.
One DEA employee was sentenced to 2 years in prison after it was found she used her position to procure 32 DEA debit cards and withdrew over $113,000 from several different banks.
The OIG currently has six audit investigations into DEA programs, one of which is an investigation into their involvement with the Department of Defense Aviation Programs in Afghanistan.
OIG and DOJ Disagreements
In the semiannual report, the OIG issued a statement in regards to government transparency. In a section titled, “Disagreement with a Significant Department Management Decision,” the OIG stated their disagreement with the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel opinion on records.
The opinion stated that the OIG is not entitled to obtain independent access to grand jury, wiretap and credit information in DOJ possession. The opinion was later formalized into DOJ policy in July 2015.
According to the OIG, this means DOJ employees will be able to decide whether or not to let the OIG access certain records. The OIG believes this new policy “creates potential ambiguity and uncertainty,” and can possibly result in employees “becoming less forthcoming and fearful of being accused of improperly divulging information.”
The OIG believes this opinion could also deter whistleblowers from coming forward over concern of retaliation. Congress is attempting to remedy the situation, according to the OIG.
North Star Post has used OIG reports in the past to write stories on fraud and mismanagement at government agencies. Those reports can be found here: