[Excerpt] This is the twenty-first Semiannual Report of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General (OIG). I am issuing it in accordance with the provisions of the Inspector General Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-452). The Congress made clear its intent in this Act that the Inspector General should be a leading force in detecting, investigating and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse in or affecting the programs administered by this Department.
I look back with considerable satisfaction on the accomplishments of the OIG during the 6-year period since I was nominated by President Reagan to be the Inspector General. I am pleased to be associated with many well motivated employees of the Department of Labor who have contributed to these efforts, but I am especially indebted to the highly dedicated professionals and support staff of the OIG who have worked so tirelessly with what has too often been too little public appreciation of their work. They have worked to improve the management and operations of the Department of Labor, thereby saving or recovering vast sums of Federal funds and helping to convict numerous individuals for serious violations of Federal criminal laws.
During this 6-year period, OIG auditors questioned the expenditure of over $1 billion. More than half of this was determined by the Department to have been improperly expended and recovery was sought. Over this same 6-year period, nearly 4,700 criminal indictments and 3,600 convictions resulted from our investigative work. These investigations also .produced over $100 million in fines, penalties, restitutions, settlements, recoveries, and cost efficiencies. Over this 6-year period, a good portion of this success is attributable to the history of support and cooperat!on that my Office has received from the Department's management and employees.
Recently, however, I fear that the OIG has been experiencing something of a significant shift that may not bode well for future cooperation in audits and investigations. Where speedy cooperation was once encouraged by top-level Department of Labor management, our requests for information or assistance are now too often subjected to a protracted delay. Today, questions about OIG authority, requests for clarifications, requests for opinions or rulings from the Solicitor or DOJ, or other such actions are routinely used to frustrate any audit or investigative activity that does not fit the current, narrow view of OIG authority that has been held by certain departmental officials.
Furthermore, I am concerned about the effectiveness of the Department's enforcement of law designed to protect the pension and benefit plans, but am heartened with the Secretary's recent statement, "Developing a sound, comprehensive pension and retirement policy is among the Department's most important responsibilities and one of my top priorities."
The Department has been entrusted with a responsibility and it must keep that trust. To paraphrase President Bush, when the Government says something, it must mean it. It must keep its word, its promise, its vow to the American people. This means enforcing the criminal as well as the civil provisions of those laws entrusted to it by the Congress and the American people.
I am hopeful that the placement of appointees in the new Administration will lead us back to a positive environment in which we all shall strive to meet the difficult challenges confronting the American worker. To be successful in this endeavor, Secretary Dole must have the benefit of the talents and energies of all of the Department's organizations and employees.
I trust that this report will, in addition, help the Secretary assure that a well balanced and effective enforcement program is one of the first steps taken to create a comprehensive pension policy. The OIG will continue to monitor and report on actions taken by DOL management to address and resolve these serious problems.