oversight

GPO Office of Inspector General: Alleged Mismanagement and Misconduct by Assistant Inspector General for Audits

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-04-23.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

United States
General Accounting Office
Washington, D.C. 20548

Of6ce of Special Investigations


B-276801
April      23, 1997
The Honorable Michael F. DiMario
Public Printer
U.S. Government Printing Office
Subject:       GPO Office  of Inspector General:  Allecred
               Mismanaoement and Misconduct  bv Assistant
               Inspector  General for Audits
Dear Mr. DiMario:
This letter       contains      the results      of our investigation            of
allegations       against     the Assistant        Inspector       General for
Audits     (AIGA) at the Government Printing                  Office's      (GPO)
Office    of Inspector        General (OIG).          We received      an anonymous
letter    reporting      alleged    irregularities          involving      the
management and operations             of GPO's OIG for Audits               (OIGA).
Specifically,       the letter      alleges      that the AIGA violated
generally     accepted government auditing                standards      related    to
independence,       objectivity,        and due professional           care by,
among other things,
--      suppressing    findings   developed during an audit of GPO's
        Workers'    Compensation    Program, an audit of GPO's
        voucher processing      system, and a customer satisfaction
        survey;
--      refusing to audit the GPO Reception    and Recreation                             Fund
        so as not to offend the Public Printer;
--      violating    the Hatch Act by participating                      in
        preparations     for the 1993 Presidential                    inaugural
        ceremonies;
--      inappropriately  obtaining            and using       a GPO special              agent
        bad& although-he   was not            a special       agent;
--      violating    Washington,  D-C.,             weapons laws by bringing                 a
        personal    weapon to a firing              range located in
        Washington,    D-C.; and
--      threatening,     in the presence of a National    Science
        Foundation     (NSF) peer review team, to physically      harm
        two members of his staff       over the issue of his failure
        to follow    appropriate   workpaper sign-off  procedures.


                                    GAO/OSI-97-3R        GPO Office     of   Inspector   General
While the anonymous letter  also raised additional      issues
regarding the AIGA's management and interpersonal       skills,                    we
focused our investigation  on the alleged irregularities.
RESULTS IN BRIEF
Our investigation        disclosed    no evidence to support the
allegations       that the AIGA suppressed findings,          refused to
audit the GPO Reception and Recreation              Fund, violated     the
Hatch Act, or violated          Washington, D-C., weapons laws.            We
found that the letter's          information    regarding   specific
alleged     instances    of wrongdoing was misleading         or
inaccurate.         In September 1991, the GPO Inspector           General
authorized      the ALGA to carry a special         agent badge, although
the AIGA was not a special agent.             Our investigation
disclosed      no evidence to support the allegation            that the
AIGA improperly        used or displayed     the badge.     Based on
differing      eye witness accounts, we were unable to determine
whether the AIGA threatened           to harm members of his staff          for
divulging      that he did not follow appropriate         workpaper sign-
off procedures.
SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
We conducted our investigation          from January 1997 to April
1997 at GPO headquarters        in Washington,      D.C.    To do our
work, we examined OIG documents and workpapers related                    to
the three audits mentioned in the letter.                In particular,        we
looked at workpapers that the letter            claimed would prove
instances    of wrongdoing.       We also reviewed the GPO/OIG audit
policies    and procedures manual to gain an understanding                  of
the internal     control    and quality    assurance procedures         in
place.    We met with GPO/OIG supervisory           auditors     and current
and former staff      auditors    to obtain documentation,          confirm
our understanding        of the information     found in the
workpapers,     and determine the accuracy of this information.
We interviewed       the GPO Public Printer,       former Inspector
General,    and AIGA to (1) obtain supporting           documentation     and
(2) determine      the accuracy of information         contained    in
agency documents and obtained during interviews                with current
and former GPO auditors.            We also interviewed     GPO's
Assistant     Inspector      General for Investigations       and special
agents to discuss allegations           that the AIGA had
inappropriately        carried   a special agent badge and brought a
handgun to Washington,          D.C.
Additionally,      we visited    NSF headquarters      in Arlington,
Virginia,     and the Tennessee Valley Authority           (TVA)
headquarters     in Knoxville,      Tennessee.     NSF and TVA conducted
peer reviews at the GPO/OIGA in 1994 and 1996, respectively.
The objectives      of the reviews were to determine           (1) whether
the internal     quality    control    system for audits was adequate
and (2) whether the office          followed   established     policies  and
 2                                GAO/OSI-97-3R    GPO Office   of   Inspector   General
procedures,  and applicable   auditing standards.  We reviewed
workpapers prepared during the peer reviews and met with NSF
and TVA auditors   who conducted the reviews to discuss   the
bases for their  findings   and recommendations.
ALLEGED SUPPRESSION OF FINDINGS
The letter  alleges   that the AIGA suppressed findings
developed during audits of GPO's Workers' Compensation
Program and voucher processing     system and a survey of
customer satisfaction     with GPO printing services.     We found
no evidence that the AIGA suppressed findings       developed
during these audits and the survey.
GPO Workers'      Compensation     Proaram Audit
Allegedly,     the AIGA suppressed a finding       related      to an audit
conducted on the GPO Workers' Compensation Program.                    Between
April    1994 and December 1994, the GPO/OIGA assessed GPO's
compliance with established         Federal Employee Compensation
Act regulations.        The OIGA audit team focused on four areas:
 (1) administrative      fees the Department of Labor charged GPO
to administer       GPO's Workers' Compensation Program,             (2) GPO's
light    duty and return to work program,        (3) GPO's internal
controls     over the program's     operations,   and (4) GPO's
process for reviewing        employee compensation      claims.        During
the audit,     the audit team obtained       a Department of Labor
projection     that GPO liability     for the program could increase
to $29.8 million      between 1994 and 2016.       According        to the
allegation,      the AIGA had the reference      suppressed       from the
OIGA report to make the GPO look better.
We found that the projection            was included    in a March 1995
draft report the AIGA sent to GPO management for comment.
However, the projection         was deleted      from the report        after
GPO officials        questioned   its usefulness.       Specifically,         in
an April      1995 memorandum to the Inspector         General,       the
Director      of the GPO Labor and Employee Relations             Service
Division      wrote,   "The inclusion     of the Department of Labor
 'prediction'      that in 23 years our OWCP [Office           of Workers'
Compensation Program1 costs will            climb to over $29 million
without     adding any new cases, is beyond comprehension."                     He
also noted that his office           had asked for, but never received
from the OIG, the written           basis for the projection.
The auditor-in-charge       of the audit said she did not include
the projection       in the initial      report drafts     for two reasons.
First,    the projection    was an actuarial        assumption    obtained
from a Department of Labor memorandum, not a finding
developed by the GPO/OIGA audit staff.               Second, the GPO/OIGA
audit staff      did not validate      the projection,      nor did the
staff    perform tests to determine          the relevance    and
competence of the projection.             Generally    accepted government
auditing     standards require      that before relying        on the work
3                                 GAO/OSI-97-3R    GPO   Office   of   Inspector   General
of nonauditors,   auditors  should obtain an understanding    of
the methods and significant     assumptions used by the
nonauditors.    We found no evidence that the team performed
tests or procedures that would have provided     a sufficient
basis for relying    on the projection.
The auditor-in-charge      subsequently     incorporated     the
projection    in the audit report at the direction           of her
supervisor.      She agrees with the decision         to delete the
projection    from the OIG final    report.
GPO's Voucher    Processincr   and Pavments Audit
In addition,     it was alleged that the AIGA ordered an audit
team to stop work on a $7.9 million         finding that was
developed in November 1994 during the audit of GPO voucher
processing    and payment operations.      We found no evidence
that the AIGA directed       the audit team to stop work on the
finding.     Further,    our review of GPO workpapers    showed, and
the audit team confirmed,        that the team did not stop work on
the finding,       We also noted that the $7.9 million     finding
was reported     in a March 1995 report     signed by the AIGA.
Customer Satisfaction      Review
It was also alleged that the AIGA suppressed       10 findings      and
20 recommendations developed during a customer satisfaction
review conducted in 1994 by the Inspector       General's   office.
The AIGA allegedly  suppressed the findings      and
recommendations by having the report    rewritten     several times
over an 8-month period.
The review was intended to provide GPO management with an
overview of the level of customer satisfaction         by obtaining
the opinions of executive      branch agency customers.      It was
not a review of the effectiveness       of GPO's customer
relationship   management process.      From August 1994 through
October 1994, the OIGA staff       asked 111 executive   branch
customer agencies to rate GPO's service        and performance    in a
number of areas.      The review was the first    survey of
customer satisfaction     performed by the OIG since 1983.
In December 1994, the OIGA team briefed          the Inspector
General on the survey results,        which demonstrated       that
executive   branch customers were generally         satisfied     with
GPO's service.     Customer agencies also identified           several
areas in which GPO needed to make improvements.               For
example, customer agencies expressed concern about GPO's
responsiveness    and timeliness.      Following    the briefing,      the
Inspector   General directed      the team to write      a report that
discussed survey results      and causes of problems raised by



 4                             GAO/OSI-97-3R   GPO Office   of   Inspector   General   'C
customer agencies.    Although the Inspector  General directed
that the report should also include    the team's conclusions,
he told the team to let GPO management decide on specific
actions  to be taken.
In March 1995, the OIGA team prepared a draft report on the
results     of its work.     The report was written      in the
traditional      OIG audit format and included       recommendations
for improving       customer relations  and service.        At that time,
the Inspector       General decided that the final product would
not include      the team's findings,   conclusions,       or
recommendations.
Our examination  of memorandums prepared by the OIGA team
shows that in a June 1995 meeting,    the Inspector  General
again told the team he wanted the report      to be
 (1) structured as a business  letter   to allow GPO management
to draw its own conclusions   and (2) used by GPO management
as an opinion poll and an indicator     of potential problems.
In August 1995, the GPO/OIG issued its report on
satisfaction       levels   of executive    branch customers.     In the
letter     transmitting     the report    to the Public Printer,     the
Inspector      General recommended that the OIG survey be
evaluated      in conjunction    with previous     customer satisfaction
surveys to provide GPO management with the broadest possible
overview of customers'         perception    of GPO service.
ALLEGED REFUSAL TO AUDIT GPO'S REPRESENTATIONAND RECEPTION
FUND
The letter    alleges   that beginning      in 1994, the AIGA did not
permit GPO/OIG auditors        to perform planned audits of the
Public Printer's      use of GPO's Representation        and Reception
Fund because the AIGA did not want to offend the Public
Printer.    A proposed audit of the fund has been included             in
the GPO/OIG work plan since 1994.             In 1993, the Congress
reduced the amount appropriated          for the fund from $5,000 to
$2,500.    In fiscal    year 1994, the Public Printer         spent
$1,013 of fund money; in fiscal          year 1995, he spent $574:
and in fiscal     year 1996, he spent $455.          Because of the
fund's small appropriation        and the Public Printer's       even
smaller expenditures,       the former Inspector       General decided
not to conduct the proposed audits.             Prior to 1993, the
GPO/OIG conducted two audits         of the fund, one in 1991 and
another in 1992.
ALLEGED HATCH ACT VIOLATION
In 1993, the AIGA helped the Joint            Committee on Inaugural
Ceremonies prepare for the 1993 Presidential              inauguration.
The anonymous-letter        alleges    that this participation
violated  the Hatch Act.          At the time the AIGA participated
in the inaugural     activities,       the Hatch Act generally
5                               GAO/O.%-97-3R   GPO Office   of   Inspector   General
prohibited     federal    employees from soliciting    or accepting
political    contributions      or from taking an active part in
political    campaigns (5 U.S.C. section 7324 (1988)).          As
legislative      branch employees, GPO employees are not included
in the Hatch Act as covered employees.            However, under
internal    regulations,     GPO has made its employees subject     to
the Hatch Act.
Every 4 years the Congress appoints a Joint Committee on
Inaugural     Ceremonies to arrange for the inauguration        of the
President-elect        and Vice President-elect   of the United
States.     The Committee consists       of three senators and three
representatives        appointed by the President   of the Senate and
the Speaker of the House of Representatives.            The Committee
is authorized       the use of federal agencies'    equipment and the
services    of their     personnel in connection with inaugural
activities.       It was in this context that the AIGA helped the
Joint Committee prepare for the 1993 Presidential
inauguration.
We spoke with an official       in the Office of Special Counsel,
which, among other responsibilities,         issues advisory
opinions   under the Hatch Act.       The official     stated that the
AIGA's participation      in helping the Joint Committee prepare
for the 1993 Presidential       inauguration     did not violate   the
Hatch Act.     It follows   that GPO's internal      regulations   were
also not violated.
ALLEGED MISUSE OF SPECIAL AGENT BADGE
The letter   alleges   that the AIGA possesses a GPO/OIG special
agent badge although      he is not an investigator.      It alleges
that the AIGA showed his special agent badge at a 1994
meeting with the Peace Corps Inspector         General.   We found
that between September 1991 and April         1996, the AIGA carried
a GPO special     agent badge.   The former GPO Inspector     General
had authorized     the AIGA to carry the badge.       We found no
evidence that the AIGA improperly       displayed-or    used the
badge.
From July 1991 to July 1992, the AIGA served as the Deputy
Assistant     Inspector     General for Operations and
Administration.          As deputy, his duties included managing the
operations      of the Office     of Audits and the Office       of
Investigations,        and super-vising     staff   assigned to the two
offices.      Also, while deputy, he reported directly            to the
Inspector      General,    the then AIGA, and the Assistant
Inspector      General for Investigations.           Because he reported
directly     to the Assistant       Inspector     General for
Investigations,         the deputy received two badges--a Deputy
Assistant      Inspector     General for Investigations       badge, and
credentials,       in July 1991 and a special agent badge in
September 1991.

 6                             GAO/OSI-97-3R   GPO Office   of   Inspector   General
The AIGA told us he did not ask for either              badge.     The
former Inspector        General could not recall      why he wanted the
individual      holding the deputy position       to receive     the
badges.      According to the Assistant       Inspector    General for
Investigations,        however, the former Inspector       General
decided that the deputy should have the two badges because
 (1) the deputy position        was considered    part of the
investigative       chain,   (2) all Office   of Investigations        staff
members carry two badges, and (3) the Inspector                General
wanted to build a bridge between the deputy, who is an
auditor,     and the special     agents he supervised.
The AIGA told us that,     after becoming AIGA in 1992, he
returned his deputy badge and credentials          to the Assistant
Inspector  General for Investigations        but forgot    to turn in
the special agent badge.       According    to the AIGA, between
September 1991 and April      1996, his special      agent badge was
attached to a pocket commission case that also contained              his
GPO/AIGA credentials.      He said that he put the special         agent
badge and his AIGA credentials        in his brief    case, where they
remained until   he displayed    his AIGA credentials--but        not
his badge --at a 1994 meeting with a GPO peer review team and
the Peace Corps Inspector      General.     The two GPO/OIGA
auditors  who attended the meeting with the Peace Corps
Inspector  General said the AIGA showed his GPO credentials,
but not his special    agent badge, to the Peace Corps
Inspector   General.   The individual     who served as the Peace
Corps Inspector    General is no longer with that agency and
our attempts to contact her have been unsuccessful.
In 1996,    while inventorying  the special     agent badges, the
Assistant     Inspector General for Investigations     said he
realized    that the AIGA still  had a badge.      He said he asked
the AIGA    about the badge and on April    15, 1996, the AIGA
returned    the badge.
ALLEGED VIOLATION OF DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WEAPONSLAWS
The letter     alleges that the AIGA went with GPO/OIG
investigators,      on official    time, to a federal        government
firing    range located in Washington,         D-C., to shoot handguns.
It also alleges the AIGA violated           District     of Columbia
weapons laws by bringing        his personal      handgun into
Washington,     D-C., and onto GPO property.            We found no
evidence that the AIGA violated          either      Washington,   D-C., or
federal weapons laws when he brought his personal                 handgun to
the firing     range.
GPO special agents are authorized           to carry firearms   and, as
such, they are required        to periodically     demonstrate  their
qualifications    to carry firearms.          To qualify,  GPO special
agents use a federal      government firing       range in Washington,
D.C.     Between July 1991 and July 1992, while he was the
Deputy Assistant     Inspector    General, the AIGA accompanied GPO
7                               OAO/OS~-97-3R   GPO   Office   of   Inspector   General
special agents to a firing      range in the District       of Columbia
at least twice.      The AIGA was considered      part of the
investigative    chain, according     to the Assistant     Inspector
General for Investigations,       and, therefore,     could use the
firing    range.
The first   time that he went to the firing       range, the AIGA
fired a GPO/OIG handgun that was provided         to him at the
range.    The Assistant   Inspector    General for Investigations
stated that he had invited      the AIGA, shortly     after he became
the Deputy Assistant    Inspector    General,  to accompany the GPO
special agents to a federal       government firing    range located
in the District    of Columbia.     GPO/OIG special    agents and the
AIGA confirmed the statement.
The second time,     as a member of the GPO/OIG shooting                      team,
the AIGA fired his personal weapon.                  GPO/OIG special          agents
told us that after his first            visit,     they invited         the AIGA to
become a member of a recreational               shooting       team they were
assembling.      On this occasion,          the AIGA, who lives            in
Virginia,    brought his personal handgun to a federal
government firing      range located in the District                   of Columbia.
According to Washington,           D.C., weapons laws, it is illegal
to transport     handguns through the District                 of Columbia if
they are not registered          in the District.            The law provides
an exception,     however, to nonresidents               participating        in a
lawful recreational       firearm-related          activity       in the District
 (D-C. Code section 6.2311).            Under 18 U.S.C. section               930,
persons are subject to criminal               penalty     for knowingly
possessing a firearm in a federal               facility.         However, this
statute   provides an exception           that allows persons to carry
firearms    in a federal      facility      when engaged in a lawful
activity.
ALLEGED THREAT OF PHYSICAL HARM
The letter    alleges that the AIGA threatened         physical     harm to
two GPO/OIGA supervisory      auditors.      In August 1994, a team
of NSF auditors     met with the GPO Inspector       General, AIGA,
and two GPO/OIG auditors      to discuss     the results    of the NSF
peer review of the GPO/OIGA. The NSF team reported                finding
one audit in which the AIGA had not signed off on numerous
workpapers prepared by the job's audit manager.              Allegedly,
the AIGA blamed the omission on the audit manager and the
report referencer.      The letter     also says that,     at the exit
conference,     the AIGA threatened      to execute the two employees
by "hanging, a bullet      to the head, and decapitation."             The
AIGA admitted to being embarrassed and upset about the NSF
finding,    but said he did not remember threatening            harm to
anyone.
We met with the three NSF and three GPO Office   of Inspector
General employees who attended the exit conference    to find
out if they could corroborate  the allegation.  All three NSF
 8                                 GAO/OSI-97-3R     GPO Office   of   Inspector   General
auditors    remembered that except for the one instance,         the
AIGA had signed workpapers prepared by his supervisory
auditors.      With respect       to what happened at the exit
conference,      all three remembered that the AIGA said (1) he
would find out why there were so many unsigned workpapers
associated    with the one audit,         (2) he did not know how he
neglected    to sign the workpapers,          and (3) he was
embarrassed.        The NSF auditors      said they did not hear the
AIGA threaten       to physically     harm anyone in the GPO Inspector
General's    office.
The former GPO Inspector      General said he was present for the
entire  meeting.     He too said that the AIGA said nothing that
          interp 'reted or perceived
could be interpreted                     as a threat.  He said that
if the AIGA had threatened      his staff   during the meeting, he
would have immediately
             immediately   taken him to the Public Printer's
office  to be dismissed.
The two GPO/OIG auditors         attending     the exit conference,
however, remembered hearing the AIGA make the threat.                  One
auditor   said he took the threat          seriously.      He prepared a
memorandum to be sent to the Inspector                General through the
AIGA documenting    the incident        and requesting       that the
Inspector   General take disciplinary            action against the AIGA.
The former Inspector      General and the AIGA said they never
received   the memorandum. The other auditor               said he did not
take the threat    seriously.        He said he does not believe        the
AIGA intended    to threaten      or harm anyone when he made the
statement but, rather,        that he made it for the benefit          of
the NSF auditors    and to save face.


We will    provide   copies of this letter   to the Chairman and
Vice Chairman of the Joint Committee on Printing         and to the
Committee's      Senate and House Ranking Minority    Members. If
you have any questions       about this investigation   or require
additional     information,   please contact me or Deputy Director
Donald Fulwider      at (202) 512-7455.
Sincerely      yours,



Donald      J. Wheeler
Acting      Director




(600431)
9                              GAO/OSI-97-3R   GPO Office   of   Inspector   General
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