[Excerpt] I am pleased to submit this Semiannual Report to Congress, which highlights the most significant activities and accomplishments of the Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Inspector General (OIG), for the six-month period ending March 31, 2008. During this reporting period, our investigative work led to 406 indictments, 253 convictions, and $32 million in monetary accomplishments. In addition, we issued 41 audits and other reports and questioned $181.4 million in costs.
OIG audits continue to disclose a pattern of weakness in the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA’s) oversight in DOL’s programs to ensure miner safety. For example, we found that MSHA failed to conduct all required safety inspections at 107 underground coal mines where approximately 7,500 miners worked. Furthermore, an OIG audit of MSHA’s review and approval of the roof control plan at Utah’s Crandall Canyon Mine found that MSHA did not have a rigorous, transparent review and approval process for roof control plans and could not show that its process was free from undue influence by the mine operator.
We also identified problems in the Department’s grant management. An OIG audit found that DOL non- competitively awarded 133 high growth job training grants, totaling $235 million. The Department could not demonstrate that it followed proper procedures in awarding 35, or 90 percent, of the high growth grants we reviewed, totaling $57 million. An OIG audit of a $32.5 million earmark grant to provide employment services overstated the number of participants in the program and could not demonstrate that participants received employment services funded by the grant. We questioned more than $11 million in inappropriate costs charged to that grant.
Our investigations continue to combat labor racketeering involving the monies in union-sponsored benefit plans, internal union affairs, and labor-management relations. A major OIG organized crime investigation led to the high-profile indictments of 62 members and associates of the Gambino Organized Crime Family on charges that included racketeering conspiracy, theft of union benefits, loan sharking, and murder conspiracy. Both construction industry and union officials were among those charged for crimes spanning more than three decades.
We continue to investigate instances of corruption in which officers of labor organizations embezzle money from union and member benefit plan accounts and defraud members of their right to honest services. An OIG investigation led to the guilty plea of a former New York State assemblyman who also served as a high-ranking union official. The defendant admitted to 21 specific acts of racketeering and pleaded guilty to Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) forfeiture.
OIG investigations revealed that the foreign labor certification process continues to be compromised by unscrupulous attorneys, labor brokers, employers, and others. In one case, four conspirators who operated a labor leasing company were sentenced to jail and a $1 million judgment for their roles in providing fraudulent documentation that enabled more than 200 foreign nationals to illegally enter the United States. We will continue to work with the Department to safeguard the integrity of the foreign labor certification process.
The OIG remains committed to promoting the economy, integrity, effectiveness, and efficiency of DOL. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to a professional and dedicated OIG staff for its significant achievements during this reporting period.