The Inspector General provides overall leadership and policy direction for OIG, and reviews proposed and existing departmental legislation and regulations. The IG keeps the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Congress informed of serious problems and deficiencies relating to the administration of the Department's programs and operations, recommends corrective actions, and reports on the progress made in implementing corrective actions. The Office of Counsel provides legal advice and assistance to the IG and to OIG staff engaged in the other principal activities. The Office of Administration provides OIG-wide support in the areas of budget and administration, human resources, and information technology.
Audits and Evaluations
The Office of Audit and Evaluation (OAE) provides executive leadership and management for the consolidated audit and evaluation activities conducted by the Office of Inspector General in monitoring Commerce operations, as well as external activities funded by the Department through contracts or financial assistance (loans, grants, and cooperative agreements).
OAE audit and evaluation activities include performance audits and evaluations, and financial audits. OAE also reviews and handles resolution of certain single audits conducted by state and local auditors on recipients of Commerce financial awards. All audit work is performed in accordance with government auditing standards.
Performance audits and evaluations address the efficiency, effectiveness, and economy of the Department's programs, activities, and information technology systems. They may check a unit's compliance with laws and regulations, and evaluate its success in achieving program objectives. They may also assess the operations of a contractor or recipient of a Commerce financial assistance award to determine whether the recipient complied with laws, regulations, and award terms; claimed allowable project costs; and achieved intended results.
Financial audits determine whether a reporting entity (1) has presented its financial statements fairly and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles; (2) has an internal control structure that provides reasonable assurance of achieving the control objectives set forth by OMB; and (3) has complied with laws and regulations that could have a direct and material effect on its financial statements, the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act, and other laws and regulations.
Single audits. The Single Audit Act establishes audit requirements for state and local government and nonprofit organizations receiving federal financial assistance. In addition to undergoing OIG-performed audits, certain recipients of Commerce financial assistance undergo single audits conducted by state and local government auditors and independent public accountants. OAE reviews all single audit reports that have findings, and works with the funding agency and the recipients to resolve them.
OAE's audits and evaluations may be prompted by congressional requests from committees and individual Members, or by statute. We perform annual audits of Commerce financial statements pursuant to the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 and information security reviews as required by the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002.
The Office of Investigations (OI) investigates alleged or suspected fraud, waste, abuse, and misconduct by Commerce employees, contractors, recipients of financial assistance, and others involved in the Department's programs and operations. Such wrongdoing may result in criminal and/or civil prosecution, as well as administrative sanctions for violations of Department regulations and employee standards of conduct.
OI's significant areas of criminal work are as follows:
Contract and grant fraud. OI investigates fraudulent activity related to grant awards made by Commerce operating units as well as contracts entered into by the Department and its operating units.
Employee misconduct. OI investigates or assists the Department in handling employee misconduct involving Commerce funds and programs. These cases cover a wide range of improper behavior—from misusing one's official position to stealing government property—that may warrant administrative sanction or criminal prosecution.
Support for other law enforcement offices. OI often partners with other law enforcement agencies to investigate cases involving Commerce employees as victims or perpetrators of crimes not directly related the business of the Department.