Creation and Historical Overview of the Office of Inspector General
Originally, the concept of having an Inspector General was a military one. Its role was to provide an independent administrative review of the readiness, effectiveness, and efficiency of military personnel. Commander of the United States Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, then General George Washington, appointed Baron von Steuben as first Inspector General.
Today, the role of the Inspector General in Federal Government is much broader. Their primary responsibility is to detect and prevent fraud, waste, abuse, and violations of the law while promoting economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in the operations of the Federal Government.
On October 12, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Inspector General Act (IG Act), which established the responsibilities and duties of an Inspector General (IG). That Act created the first twelve Federal Office of Inspectors General (OIGs). On October 18, 1988, the IG Act was amended ( http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-102/pdf/STATUTE-102-Pg2515.pdf ) to expand its authority to independent agencies and Federal entities. Subsequently, thirty additional OIGs were designated at selected Federal entities. Today, there are seventy-five Federal IGs.
The Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296), enacted by President George W. Bush on November 25, 2002, granted law enforcement powers to certain OIG criminal investigators. This act amended the IG Act of 1978 to authorize special agents at selected presidentially appointed OIGs to exercise law enforcement authority, including carrying firearms, making arrests, and executing warrants, and it included provisions to enable other OIGs to qualify for law enforcement authority, as well.
The Inspector General Reform Act of 2008 (Public Law No.110-409) strengthened the independence of IGs, increased their resources and held them more accountable for their performance. The OIG is under the supervision of the IG, an independent EEOC official subject to general supervision by the Chair. The IG shall not be prevented or prohibited by the Chair or any other EEOC official from initiating, carrying out, and/or completing any audit, investigation, evaluation, or other inquiry or from issuing any report. The Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2016 (Public Law No. 114-317) further strengthened the independence of the IG. The Empowerment Act enhances the IG’s ability to fight waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct, protects whistleblowers who share information with an IG, increases government transparency, and bolsters the public’s confidence in the independence of IGs. The Empowerment Act also ensures the IG has “timely access to all records, reports, audits, reviews, documents, papers, recommendations, or other materials” that are related to the oversight of their respective agency’s programs and operations.
History of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—Office of Inspector General (OIG)
The U.S. Congress established an OIG at the EEOC through the 1988 amendment of the Inspector General Act (IG Act) of 1978. The OIG supports the Agency by carrying out its mandate to independently and objectively conduct and supervise audits, evaluations, inspections, and investigations; prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse; and promote economy, effectiveness, and efficiency in programs and operations. The OIG reviews pending legislation and regulation and keeps the EEOC’s chair and the U.S. Congress informed about Agency issues, recommends corrective action(s), and monitors the EEOC’s progress in implementing such action.
The EEOC OIG is under the leadership of the Inspector General, who provides overall direction, coordination, and supervision to staff. In the EEOC, a designated Federal entity, the Commission Chair appoints the Inspector General and acts under the general supervision of the agency head. Even so, the IG has a dual role since they also report directly to Congress. The EEOC cannot prevent or prohibit the OIG from conducting an audit or investigation. The OIG includes a deputy inspector general, auditors, evaluator, investigators, information technology specialist, independent counsel, and administrative staff.
Joyce T. Willoughby Esq. is the current Inspector General and is the fourth individual to serve in this capacity.
Statement of Purpose: The Audit Program supports the mission of EEOC and OIG by conducting reviews that improve the Agency's economy, efficiency, and effectiveness regarding EEOC programs, operations, and activities.
The Audit Program identifies ways to improve programs and operations so that agencies can be more responsive to the needs of U.S. policymakers and the American public. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Inspector General, Audit Program, is responsible for the audit activities relating to the Agency’s programs and operations, covering the economy and efficiency with which an organization, programs, or functions. Auditors assess the degree to which an organization complies with laws, regulations, and internal policies in carrying out programs.
Audits typically examine programs and management systems, financial statements, grant recipients’ and contractors’ financial information, and information technology systems. The Assistant Inspector General for Audit oversees the audit program.
Statement of Purpose: The Evaluation Program supports the missions of EEOC and OIG by executing ambitious, high-value evaluations and special assessments. OIG evaluations analyze the management, effectiveness, and efficiency of programs with the greatest effect on mission accomplishment.
The Evaluation Program provides timely and relevant oversight of operations and programs in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Our evaluations analyze the management, effectiveness, and efficiency of programs with the most significant effect on mission accomplishment. Evaluators use systematic data collection and analysis to address how well government programs and policies are working, whether they are achieving their objectives, and why they are ineffective.
Within the Inspector General community, inspections and evaluations have long afforded OIGs a flexible and effective mechanism for oversight and review of Department/Agency programs by using a multidisciplinary staff and multiple methods for gathering and analyzing data. According to OMB M-20-12, issued on March 10, 2020, federal evaluations must address questions of importance and serve stakeholders' information needs to be useful resources. Evaluations should present findings that are actionable and available in time for use. Information should be delivered in understandable ways, informing agency activities and actions such as budgeting, program improvement, accountability, management, regulatory action, and policy development.
The Supervisory Evaluator oversees the evaluation program.
The Investigation Program supports the OIG's strategic goal by focusing its limited investigative resources on issues that represent the greatest risk and offer the maximum opportunity to detect and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse in EEOC programs and operations.
The Investigation Program conducts criminal, civil, and administrative investigations of fraud and misconduct related to EEOC programs and operations.
- Operates an OIG HOTLINE, which allows the Agency employees and the public to report suspected fraud, waste, and abuse; associated with the EEOC; and
- Coordinates with the Department of Justice and other law enforcement authorities to leverage resources and fraud-fighting efforts.