This subpart describes the key responsibilities of the Office of Inspector General, the structure of the office, and the authority of the Inspector General.
The Inspector General conducts, supervises, and coordinates audits and investigations; reviews existing and proposed legislation and makes recommendations to the Secretary and Congress concerning their effect on the economy and efficiency of program administration, or the prevention and detection of fraud and abuse; recommends policies for and conducts, supervises, or coordinates other activities of the Department for the purpose of promoting economy and efficiency in program administration, or preventing and detecting fraud and abuse; and keeps the Secretary and the Congress fully and currently informed.
This Office is composed of:
(a) The Office of the Deputy Inspector General;
(b) The Office of the Principal Assistant Inspector General for Investigations;
(c) The Office of the Principal Assistant Inspector General for Auditing and Evaluation;
(d) The Office of the Assistant Inspector General for Administration; and
(e) The Office of the Assistant Inspector General for Legal, Legislative and External Affairs.
The Inspector General shall report to and be under the general supervision of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary. The Inspector General has such authority as is provided by the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, and as is otherwise provided by law. Authorities provided to the Inspector General by law are reserved to the Inspector General. In accordance with the statutory intent of the Inspector General Act to create an independent and objective unit, the Inspector General is authorized to make such investigations and reports relating to the administration of the programs and operations of the Department as are, in the judgment of the Inspector General, necessary and desirable. Neither the Secretary nor the Deputy Secretary shall prevent or prohibit the Inspector General from initiating, carrying out, or completing any audit or investigation, or from issuing any subpoena during the course of any audit or investigation.
The Inspector General is delegated authority to:
(a) Redelegate and authorize successive redelegations of authority granted by the Secretary within the Office of Inspector General, except as limited by law or specific administrative reservation.
(b) Authorize and approve official travel, including foreign travel and transportation for themselves, their subordinates, and others performing services for, or in cooperation with, the Office of Inspector General.
(c) Exercise the authority of the Secretary to resolve informal allegations of discrimination arising in or relating to the Office of Inspector General through Equal Employment Opportunity counseling or the Alternative Dispute Resolution process and to develop and implement affirmative action and diversity plans.
(d) Exercise the authority vested in the Secretary by 49 U.S.C. 326(a) to accept gifts of property (other than real property) or services (in carrying out aviation duties and powers), and the authority to accept travel reimbursements from non-federal sources under 31 U.S.C. 1353.
(f) Carry out the emergency preparedness functions assigned to the Secretary by Executive Order 12656 (as amended; see Executive Order 13286) and by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and General Services Administration (FEMA and GSA) as they pertain to the Office of Inspector General, including those relating to continuity of operations, emergency resource management, and training.
(g) Determine the existence and amount of indebtedness and the method of collecting repayments from employees and members within the Office of Inspector General and collect repayments accordingly, as provided by 5 U.S.C. 5514.
(h) Waive claims of the United States arising out of an erroneous payment to an employee of the Office of Inspector General of pay or allowances, or travel, transportation, or relocation expenses and allowances, and deny requests for waiver of such claims, as authorized by 5 U.S.C. 5584 and the OMB memorandum, “Determination with Respect to Transfer of Functions Pursuant to Public Law 104-316” (December 17, 1996). But for claims arising from erroneous payments to current employees, this delegation of authority is limited to claims greater than $500. For claims arising from erroneous payments to former employees, this delegation of authority is not limited by claim amount. Redelegation of this authority may be made only to the principal officials responsible for financial management or such officials' principal assistants.
(i) Settle and pay claims by employees of the Office of Inspector General for personal property losses as provided by 31 U.S.C. 3721 (Claims of personnel of agencies and the District of Columbia government for personal property damage or loss).
(j) Review and approve for payment any voucher for $25 or less the authority for payment of which is questioned by a certifying or disbursing officer.
(l) Exercise the Secretary's authority under 31 U.S.C. 3711 to collect, compromise, suspend collection action on, or terminate claims of the United States which are referred to, or arise out of the activities of, the Office of Inspector General, subject to the limits on that authority imposed by 31 U.S.C. 3711 and the Federal Claims Collection Standards, 31 CFR chapter IX.
(m) Exercise the Secretary's authority under 28 U.S.C. 2672 and 28 CFR part 14, related to the administrative disposition of federal tort claims, for claims involving the Office of Inspector General. The Inspector General may request the approval of the Attorney General to adjust, compromise, and settle any such claim if the amount of the adjustment, compromise, or award exceeds $100,000, but only after the General Counsel concurs with the request. If the Inspector General believes that a pending claim presents a novel question of law or of policy, he or she shall coordinate with the General Counsel to obtain the advice of the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Division. If the Inspector General settles a claim for an amount greater than $50,000, the Inspector General shall prepare a memorandum fully explaining the basis for the action taken and coordinate with the General Counsel before sending a copy of the memorandum to the Director, Federal Torts Claims Act Staff, Torts Branch of the Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice.
(n) Make written requests under subsection (b)(7) of the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(7), for records maintained by other agencies that are necessary to carry out an authorized law enforcement activity.
(p) Administer the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and 49 CFR part 10 (Maintenance of and Access to Records Pertaining to Individuals) in connection with the records of the Office of the Inspector General.
(q) Exercise the authority of the Secretary over and with respect to any personnel within the Office of Inspector General, except as prescribed by the Secretary or limited by law.
(s) Administer 49 CFR part 9 (Testimony of Employees of the Department and Production of Records in Legal Proceedings) in connection with the records of the Office of Inspector General and testimony of current and former employees of the Office of Inspector General.