It is an honor to transmit to the Secretary and the Congress the 46th Semiannual Report of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Inspector General (OIG). During the period of April 1 through September 30, 2001, the OIG continued to direct its audit, evaluation, and investigation resources to activities that support its goals of effecting positive change and reducing vulnerabilities in departmental programs and operations, producing a positive return on invested resources, and providing quality services to stakeholders. Our work is intended to assist the Department in its efforts to improve the economic prospects of the unemployed and underemployed; protect the lives, health, and rights of workers; provide appropriate benefits to injured or unemployed workers; and ensure accountability over taxpayer dollars invested in departmental programs.
The work of the OIG during this period resulted in $40 million in costs that were questioned or recommended be put to better use; over $35.2 million in investigative recoveries, restitutions, fines, and penalties; 182 indictments; and 109 convictions. Through our oversight work, we provided information to the Department that one of the major programs for providing employment and training services to welfare recipients falls short in placing individuals in lasting unsubsidized employment. We also audited programs that assist workers who lose their jobs because of trade policies to obtain employment at suitable wages. We found that these programs only did so for 34% of the participants we reviewed. In addition, we identified ways that the Department can further protect miners from accidents and ways that the Department can protect its information technology systems from intrusions.
From an investigative perspective, we found that worker benefits programs remain vulnerable to fraud and continued our proactive support of the government’s efforts to combat labor racketeering, union corruption, and organized crime activity. Illustrative of our work in this area is the conviction of a former labor union official for his role in a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme involving several Chicago-based union pension plans and a labor organization.
In addition to the work highlighted above, we are continuing to work with the Department to resolve any previously identified management issues or areas of concern. My staff and I look forward to continuing to work constructively with the Secretary and the DOL team to further our common goal of ensuring the effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity of the programs that serve and protect the American workforce.