This Semiannual Report of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) details some of our most significant accomplishments for the period April 1, 2000–September 30, 2000. During this period, the OIG continued to direct its audit, evaluation, and investigation resources to activities that support our strategic plan goals. Our focus has been to effect positive change and reduce vulnerabilities in departmental programs and operations, produce a positive return on invested resources, and provide quality services to stakeholders. OIG audits, investigations, and evaluations conducted during this period resulted in over $15.7 million in questioned costs; nearly $18.1 million in recommendations that funds be put to better use; 117 indictments; 110 convictions; and over $66.4 million in investigative recoveries, restitutions, fines, and penalties.
The following are examples illustrative of our accomplishments during this reporting period. The OIG:
- determined that eligibility was not adequately demonstrated for over one-third of individuals served by the Dislocated Worker program and, moreover, that evidence suggested the program was not serving its intended population;
- continued to identify management and performance issues to assist the Department in improving its administration of grants and contracts;
- identified that miners’ failure to use personal protective equipment contributed to a significant number of the fatalities in metal/nonmetal mining;
- assisted the Department in achieving high-quality information technology (IT) management. For example, a follow-up to our audit on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data security showed that BLS implemented substantial changes recommended by the OIG to improve the security of its IT systems. We also identified weaknesses in the Employment and Training Administration’s internal control of embargoed unemployment data and press releases that subject this sensitive information to early release;
- continued to uncover vulnerabilities in DOL worker benefit programs. For example, our crossmatch between FECA rolls and Social Security wage information disclosed millions of dollars in potential program savings over a 10-year period based on the identification of individuals who have earnings while receiving government benefits. From an investigative perspective, we opened 164 worker benefit cases and achieved 66 convictions and almost $47 million in penalties, fines, and restitutions;
- uncovered numerous instances of fraud in DOL’s labor certification program, particularly the H-1B temporary work visa program. Our investigations led to the indictment and conviction of 12 individuals in the last six months;
- combated labor racketeering in unions and the workplace in the areas of employee benefit plans focusing on investment management schemes, labor-management relations, and internal union affairs. We also focused efforts on organized crime and labor racketeering abuses within the transportation, construction, and waterfront industries; and
- called attention to legislative issues impacting the Department in areas such as program evaluation, worker benefit integrity, information technology oversight, and occupational safety and health coverage.
We continue to augment our traditional role by working collaboratively and constructively with the Department to identify, early in the process, possible impediments that may affect DOL’s success in administering its programs and in serving the public. Particularly noteworthy are our efforts to assist the Department in complying with the Government Performance and Results Act and other Federal requirements.
I would like to commend all OIG staff members for their diligent work and commitment to providing quality services to our stakeholders. The OIG looks forward to continuing to work effectively with the Secretary, management, and departmental staff at all levels in our common goal of ensuring the effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity of the programs that serve and protect American workers and retirees.