OIG History

skip-to-content

History of Federal Offices of Inspector General

Read the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amendedDownload PDF

  • 2016
    In December, the Inspector General Empowerment Act was enacted to exempt OIGs from requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act and Computer Matching Act, and guaranteed full and timely IG access to all agency records and materials related to DOT programs and operations, except where the IG’s right of access is otherwise expressly limited by statute. The Act also added changed several new reporting requirements for IGs and altered the structure and timeframes under which the Integrity Committee of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency operates.

  • 2009
    In February, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was enacted to create and save American jobs and spur economy activity. That Act also created the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, on which the DOT IG serves as a member, to provide transparency and prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse in relation to Recovery Act funds.

  • 2008
    On October 14, the IG Reform Act consolidated the PCIE and ECIE into the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) as the unified council of all statutory Federal IGs to provide government-wide coordination of, and focus on, the activities of the OIGs. The IG Reform Act also amended provisions of the IG Act of 1978 related to the appointment and removal of IGs, IG pay, providing independent counsel for IGs, submission of OIG budget requests, and OIGs operating as discrete and separate agencies, among other things.

  • 2005
    OIGs joined together to play a key part in oversight of activities and expenditures directly linked to recovery from the devastating Gulf Coast hurricanes (Katrina and Rita).

  • 2004
    The temporary Iraq governing body, the Coalition Provisional Authority, was abolished and its IG converted to the Special IG for Iraq Reconstruction. This concept of creating Special IGs for specific purposes and limited terms is subsequently used again to address emerging risks in 2008, resulting in the creation of the Special IG for Troubled Asset Relief Program and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

  • 2003
    The IG community updated The Silver Book—Quality Standards for Federal Offices of Inspector General. In March, the Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard, and related OIG responsibilities, were transferred from the Department of Transportation to the new Department of Homeland Security created by the Homeland Security Act of 2002. On December 1, President George W. Bush signed S.J. Res 18, a joint Congressional Resolution, commending IGs for their efforts to prevent and detect waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement and to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in the federal government during the past 25 years.

  • 2002
    To enhance the federal government's information technology security, Congress passed the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), which requires IGs to conduct an annual evaluation of the information security programs and practices of their respective agencies. Also in 2002, the Homeland Security Act, signed by President George W. Bush, granted law enforcement powers to certain OIG criminal investigators. That Act amended the IG Act of 1978 to authorize special agents at most presidentially appointed OIGs to exercise law enforcement authority, including carrying firearms, making arrests, and executing warrants, and included provisions to enable other OIGs to qualify for law enforcement authority as well. Prior legislation had given this authority to only four OIGs.

  • 2001
    In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the IGs came together to contribute to efforts to address the protection of the Nation’s physical and information technology infrastructure.

  • 1996
    Executive Order 12993, signed by President William J. Clinton on March 21, established procedures for a special Integrity Committee to independently investigate allegations of wrongdoing by individual IGs.

  • 1995
    The IG community issued the first Journal of Public Inquiry, a semiannual publication providing a forum to share professional ideas, suggest new approaches, and chronicle changes over the years.

  • 1992
    Executive Order 12805, signed by President George H.W. Bush on May 11, established the Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency (ECIE), for the DFE OIG community and reconstituted the PCIE.

  • 1990
    In order to improve the federal government's financial management, Congress passed the Chief Financial Officers Act, which directed IGs to audit the annual financial statements produced by federal agencies.

  • 1988
    The IG Act was amended to create 30 additional OIGs at Designated Federal Entities (DFE). Most of the DFEs are relatively small agencies, boards, or commissions. These IGs have essentially the same powers and duties as those appointed by the President; however, the DFE IGs are appointed by, and can be removed by, the head of their affiliated agency.

  • 1981
    Executive Order 12301, signed by President Ronald Reagan on March 26, established the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE) comprised of presidentially appointed IGs.

  • 1978
    On October 12, 1978, the Inspector General (IG) Act established twelve Federal Offices of Inspector General (OIG), including the Department of Transportation OIG. The Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 388 to 6 and was later approved by the Senate by unanimous consent. Two OIGs had previously been established, one in 1976 and another the following year. President Jimmy Carter signed the IG Act into law and described the new statutory IGs as “perhaps the most important new tools in the fight against fraud.” The President charged the IGs to always remember that their ultimate responsibility is not to any individual but to the public interest.