We’ve previously discussed citizens’ perceptions that corruption in the Federal Government is “widespread”. While updated information on perceptions specific to corruption isn’t yet available, new poll results indicate that citizens’ eyes are still firmly on the government as they consider the challenges they face.
Gallup poll data from January 2017 show that a growing percentage of people are highly dissatisfied with their government. In fact, 11% of all people polled said that the government is the single most important problem facing the country today. Government was the most common response, with the exception of “the economy in general” which also received 11%.
This continued dissatisfaction with government has the potential to be a great opportunity for investigative offices, if citizens see them as an important check on any governmental tendencies towards waste, fraud and abuse. If you are part of an OIG or another investigative office, you may want to spend time discussing your communications strategy to the public and your stakeholders. Whether it be through traditional media or new media channels, it will be to your advantage to publicize your results and the value that you bring. Not only might this open up new avenues for tips, but it may also serve you well if you face any funding issues in the future.
Unfortunately, the perception of government as a major (and corrupt) problem could also damage the reputation of investigative offices, if citizens see them as a weak or ineffective check on an out-of-control government. It’s more important than ever for IGs to keep the lights on, our eyes open and never give up. Having a published record of the investigations you've pursued and their results on your website will help you prove your worth.