Correspondence

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Letter to Chairman Ron Johnson, Ranking Member Claire McCaskill, and Sen. Ben Sasse Regarding DOT OIG’s Mandatory Reporting Requirements

Requested by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Sen. Sasse
On June 8, 2017, we responded to a letter from Senators Johnson, McCaskill, and Sasse, who asked which of our 23 mandatory reporting requirements might be suitable for modification or repeal. As we explained in our letter to the Senators, we recommend modifying one mandate and repealing a second.
 
First, we recommend modifying section 5 of the Inspector General Act of 1978 from the current biannual reporting requirement to an annual reporting requirement that summarizes the activities of the Office of Inspector General for the previous full fiscal year. The biannual requirement was established in a pre-Internet era when audit and investigation reports were not readily available to Congress or the public. However, those reports are now readily accessible online. Furthermore, our Recommendation Dashboard lists the current status of our audit recommendations and is updated on a weekly basis. Given these alternative sources for current information about our activities, an annual report may be sufficient.
 
Second, we recommend repealing an annual appropriations provision under section 632(a) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, or any comparable provision of law. The provision requires the Inspector General for any Federal agency receiving funds from the Department of State (State) or United States Agency for International Development (USAID) periodically to audit the use of such funds. We believe that the State and USAID inspectors general may be better equipped to audit projects authorized by the Foreign Assistance Act or comparable laws, regardless of which Federal agency receives the funds. Cost is also a concern, as the appropriations acts permit, but do not require, the transferred funds to cover the cost of such audits.