The Office of Inspector General (OIG) works within the Department of Transportation (DOT) to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of DOT programs and operations and to detect and prevent waste, fraud and abuse. We do this by conducting independent and objective audits and investigations. The Inspector General Act of 1978 gives the OIG autonomy to do its work without interference and prohibits DOTofficials from interfering with OIG audits or investigations. It also requires the Inspector General to keep the Secretary of Transportation and Congress fully and currently informed of problems and deficiencies within the Department and the need for and progress of DOT corrective action.
OIG enhances DOT’s programs and operations by conducting objective investigations and audits on behalf of the American public.
OIG is a high-performing organization that strives to achieve a safer and more efficient national transportation system; greater integrity, transparency, and performance within DOT programs; and a supportive, diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace for OIG employees.
- Independence: Establishes trust in OIG. Our organization and its employees uphold their independence to ensure the work is objective and impartial.
- Accountability: Is at the heart of OIG’s work. We seek to ensure that all DOT agencies are accountable for their results and for the resources the public invests in them. OIG also holds itself accountable to the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and excellence.
- Innovation: Ensures OIG’s continued relevance. We help the Department identify opportunities for improving existing programs and respond to emerging issues. We also seek opportunities to enhance OIG’s performance, agility, and resilience.
- Community: Is critical to OIG’s success. We maintain a culture of civility, diversity, inclusion, and fairness. OIG strives to provide its employees with physical and psychological safety, opportunities for growth, and recognition for their outstanding contributions and achievements.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the Office of Inspector General keep the Department and Congress up to date on findings?
We provide our audit reports to the affected Operating Administrations and to the appropriate congressional committees as soon as the reports are issued. Twice a year, we also publish Semiannual Reports, which summarize recent audits and investigations.
How does the Office of Inspector General choose the programs to audit or investigate?
Some audits are required by law. Others are may be requested by the Secretary of Transportation, officials from DOT's Operating Administrations, or members of Congress. We also establish our own audit priorities, weighing such factors as the impact on safety, documented vulnerabilities, large dollar implications, emerging issues, and the ability of the Department to effect change.
On the investigative side, we may investigate allegations based on referrals from the Department, when we suspect a pattern of criminal behavior, or based on complaints to OIG's Hotline.
Are audit results made public?
Most audit reports are public documents and are available on this Web site. If you are interested in an older audit report cannot be found on our Web site, please call the Director of Audit Planning, Management, and Technical Support at 202-366-1959. Reports not available on this website can also be requested by submitting a Freedom of Information Act form.
I work for a Federal agency. I think the Office of Inspector General may want to ask me some questions for an audit or investigation. What do I have to do?
DOT regulations require Federal employees to cooperate with OIG audits and investigation, or face possible administrative action. Cooperation means testifying, if asked, and providing information relating to the performance of your job-related duties. Employees are also responsible for reporting suspected violations of the law, or any fraud, abuse, waste, mismanagement or irregular activities regarding DOT programs to the Office of Inspector General.
Keep in mind that cooperating with an OIG audit or investigation does not curtail an individual's Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate oneself. In addition, Federal laws protect employees from reprisal by their employers for "blowing the whistle" on illicit activity. Click here to learn more about whistleblower protection.
What is the difference between DOT regulatory enforcement and OIG law enforcement?
DOT Regulates: DOT and its Operating Administrations issue a wide variety of Federal transportation regulations, and a number of Operating Administrations have broad regulatory enforcement and compliance authority. Some Operating Administrations may enforce regulatory violations by imposing civil penalties or revoking relevant authority. For example, FMCSA may issue an out-of-service order revoking a non-compliant commercial motor carrier’s operating authority. The Department must refer any allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, or other suspected violation of law by a DOT employee, contractor, or grantee affecting the Department or its programs to the Office of Inspector General.
OIG Investigates: By contrast, OIG neither issues nor enforces DOT regulations. Rather, we are an independent audit and law enforcement agency authorized by statute to investigate allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, and other violations of law by a DOT employee, contractor, or grantee. We work with our Federal, State, and local prosecutorial and law enforcement partners to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who would violate the Nation’s transportation-related laws and regulations. We serve as the sole in-house source for objective examination of DOT’s programs and their integrity, and we are required to keep both Congress and the Secretary of Transportation fully and currently informed of problems and deficiencies related to those programs.