HR: Employee Handbook: Inspector General


The Office of Inspector General (OIG) was established in accordance with provisions of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended in 1988. The amended act gives the Inspector General responsibility for audits and investigations of Institution programs and operations. The OIG also has responsibility for:

  • reviewing existing and proposed legislation and making appropriate recommendations; and
  • promoting economy, efficiency, and effectiveness and preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse in programs and operations.
  • The authority of the OIG also extends to Institution employees, resources, grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements. The act requires the Inspector General to report to the Secretary and the Congress semi-annually.

Overall Objective

The OIG carries out its objective of preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse in Institution programs and operations by

  • reacting to allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse;
  • using preventive approaches, such as fraud awareness briefings; and
  • evaluating the adequacy of internal control systems.

The OIG serves management at all levels of the Institution by briefing management on the results of audits, inspections, and investigations when appropriate. The Inspector General is a member of and participates in the Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency.


The OIG has a staff of auditors, inspectors, investigators, and others to carry out its mission. Since planning is critical to the success of its mission, the OIG initiated a strategic planning process, the ultimate goal of which is to ensure appropriate coverage of all Institution programs and operations. Copies of plans are available on request.


OIG auditors review effectiveness in achieving program goals and objectives, economy and efficiency of operations, and agency compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Auditors also examine financial statements as appropriate. Annual financial audits, of both Federal andTrust accounts, are conducted by an independent public accounting firm.

OIG auditors conduct their work in accordance with the Government Auditing Standards (Yellow Book) published by the Comptroller General of the United States, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Professional Standards, and the AICPA Statements on Auditing Standards.

The Audit Process

The audit process includes

  • audit planning
  • audit notification
  • entrance conference
  • survey
  • detailed review (verification)
  • exit conference
  • draft report
  • final report
  • audit follow-up

The Inspector General Act Amendments require management to report to the Congress on the status of all audit reports from the date of a final management decision through the date of final action. The semi-annual report must contain a statement with respect to audit reports for which final action has not been taken within 1 year of the management decision.

The Inspector General must also report to the Congress. The reports must include a summary of each audit report issued before the beginning of the reporting period for which no management decision has been made by the end of the reporting period, an explanation of the reasons a management decision has not been made, a statement concerning the desired timetable for achieving a management decision on each report, and information concerning any significant management decision with which the Inspector General is in disagreement.


An inspection unit was established within the OIG to (1) increase coverage of Institution organizations and programs and (2) provide timely reports to management. OIG inspectors review economy and efficiency of operations, program results, adequacy of internal controls, and compliance with laws, regulations, and Smithsonian policies. OIG inspectors conduct their work in accordance with the Quality Standards for Inspections published by the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency.

The Inspection Process

The inspection process includes

  • inspection planning
  • inspection notification
  • entrance conference
  • data collection and analysis
  • exit conference
  • draft report
  • final report
  • inspection follow-up


The OIG is statutorily charged with investigating allegations or indications of violations of Federal laws, rules, and regulations; gross waste of funds; abuse of authority; mismanagement; or substantial and specific danger to public health and safety as they affect the programs and operations of the Smithsonian Institution. OIG special agents are highly trained Federal criminal investigators who specialize in internal integrity investigations. Working with you, OIG special agents help to protect the integrity of the Smithsonian Institution.

Investigative Function

OIG special agents are responsible for:

  • investigating possible violations of criminal statutes including fraud, false claims, theft of Institution property or funds, conflict of interest, bribery, gratuity, misuse of funds, concealment, destruction or removal of official records, or controlled substance use on Institution property;
  • investigating possible standards of conduct violations including using one's office for private gain, misuse of Government vehicles or property, giving preferential treatment, employment of relatives, sexual harassment or abuse by a superior, scientific misconduct, dealing in museum objects, and procurement or contract irregularities; and
  • conducting OIG training events, integrity seminars, and other proactive measures to increase awareness of potential vulnerabilities and to identify measures that would help prevent violations from occurring.

No one may prevent the OIG from initiating, carrying out, or completing an investigation or from issuing a subpoena during the course of an investigation.

Employee Reports Of Wrongdoing

Institution policy encourages employees to report to the OIG suspected acts of wrongdoing by Institution employees, contractors, volunteers, or others who receive funding from, or who do business with, the Smithsonian Institution. Reports may be made anonymously, but, by law, the identity of persons who report wrongdoing to the OIG is held in confidence. The law prohibits reprisal against employees for reporting such matters to the OIG.


The OIG is located at 955 L'Enfant Plaza, Suite 7600. The mailing address is Smithsonian Institution, MRC 905, Washington, D.C. 20560. The telephone number is 202-287-3326. The office is staffed from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. If you call after hours, please leave a message.

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