The Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2016 – All Means All

Posted on December09, 2016
One recent major impediment for Federal IGs completing their jobs is an opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel stating that IGs can’t access information that’s protected by privacy laws.  This includes grand jury testimony, credit information, wiretap information, and other similar sensitive data. This has only been corrected for a handful of agencies.  According to FCO, 66 federal Inspector Generals can still be blocked from accessing this data for the agency, potentially allowing them to hide behind these ‘sensitive…

Maintaining the Independence of Your Inspector General’s Office

Posted on December02, 2016
  One of the most important traits of an IG office is its independence.  It can be very difficult to provide oversight for an agency if they have the ability to retaliate by cutting an IG’s funding.  But unfortunately, the relationship between an agency and its IG is often neither fully connected nor independent, but somewhere between the two.  While an IG reports to Congress, for instance, they often share resources, even if it’s just a building.  Even sharing a…

IG Survey Highlights Damage of Inefficient Hiring Processes

Posted on November21, 2016
A recent survey of Inspectors General offices by the Association of Government Accountants highlighted just how much agencies are being hindered by the federal hiring process.  Among the challenges noted: The hiring process doesn’t provide a qualified pool of candidates 30% of the time Initiating the hiring process is “long, cumbersome, and inefficient” according to IGs It isn’t clear whether a writing sample can even be required to apply Even when qualified candidates are identified, they often accept other positions…

US Citizens See Corruption as a Major Problem

Posted on November18, 2016
This news might be good job security for Inspectors General, but it’s a distressing fact: US citizens see our government as more corrupt than statistics indicate it actually is.  Gallup’s most recent poll, conducted over a year ago, finds that three-quarters of US Citizens describe corruption as “widespread” in their government.   Rasmussen’s most recent poll, conducted in early 2016, found an even higher number – 81% reported the Federal Government is “somewhat” or “very” corrupt”. Fortunately, it’s not accurate to…

Interrupting the Fraud Triangle

Posted on November13, 2016
From time to time, it’s helpful to take a step back from day-to-day investigative work and consider how some of the more significant criminology theories should impact decision-making.  One of the more established theories in fraud investigations is the Fraud Triangle.  According to this theory, there are three things which must be present to precipitate a fraud: Pressure, Perceived Opportunity, and Rationalization. First, a person must have a pressure they need to solve.  This pressure is often, but not always,…

Join Us at the Annual AIG Conference

Posted on November04, 2016
The Association of Inspectors General’s Annual Conference is coming up in just two short weeks!  The conference is taking place in Boston from November 16th- 18th.  We’ve sponsored this conference for many years, and it’s a great opportunity to learn about the most recent investigative tools, techniques and targets used by IG offices across the country.  This conference is just one of the many great ways the AIG serves the investigative community and its efforts to combat waste, fraud and…

Three Auto-Notifications That Can Save the Day

Posted on October25, 2016
Investigators juggle many cases, and each of those cases involve many steps.  Depending on the agency and on outside involvement, more than a dozen people can be involved in a single case from initial complaint submission to case closure and reporting.  Unfortunately, it’s easy for cases to get “stuck” - stalled without progress while one party waits for input from another. Many case management systems (including our own) have configurable notifications built in to prevent this from happening.  Notifications can…

Influencing Without Authority

Posted on October21, 2016
Inspector Generals have wide latitude to investigate and report on wrongdoing, but little power to enforce their findings and recommendations.  Because of this, the ability to influence without authority is one of the most valuable skills an IG can have.  The good news is that, while some people are naturally better at this than others, it is a skill that can be learned through study and practice.  Here are a few techniques that can enhance your influence on prosecutors, politicians,…

What Makes a Great Investigator? Integrity.

Posted on October17, 2016
Being an investigator isn’t an easy job.  Many interactions are by definition antagonistic.  Small errors can be the difference between an effective prosecution and an opportunist getting away with fraud.  In some cases, you’re reliant on resources from the agency you’re charged with investigating.  All of this means it’s important to have certain traits to do well in this job. One of the most important traits of an investigator, if not the most important trait, is integrity.  It is the…

The Dangers of Out-of-Date Case Management Software

Posted on October06, 2016
As you’ve probably heard lately, networks exploits are increasingly being focused on government agencies and political organizations alike.  This makes it more important than ever that software is kept patched and up-to-date. A couple of examples of how this has impacted government agencies in the past couple of years: At the time of the March 2014 federal employee database hack, The Office of Personnel Management’s secure web portal was running an outdated application called JRun which was no longer supported…