DOT Operating Administrations Can Better Enable Referral of Potentially Criminal Activity to OIG
What We Looked At
The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) mission depends on proper stewardship of funds and effective enforcement of laws and regulations. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) plays a crucial role in supporting DOT’s mission by detecting and preventing waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement, as well as providing criminal enforcement for violations of law. In order for the Department and our office to fulfill these roles, Operating Administrations must notify us whenever circumstances appear to indicate a potential criminal violation. We initiated this audit to assess DOT’s policies and procedures for prompt referral of potential criminal violations to our office.
What We Found
DOT’s criminal referral policies are not up to date and were unavailable in a central location to DOT employees for almost 2 years. While DOT does not require Operating Administrations to have their own policies or prohibit management involvement, four Operating Administrations have developed policies outlining their internal referral review processes. However, internal processes used by two of the four Operating Administrations may hinder prompt referrals to OIG. Finally, the number of referrals varies across Operating Administrations, and our survey results point to training needs.
We made three recommendations to help the Department and its Operating Administrations put policies, procedures, and training in place to enable prompt referral of fraud, waste, abuse, or other potential criminal violations to our office. The Office of the Secretary concurred with two recommendations and partially concurred with one.