Appropriators to Strengthen Access to Inspectors General Reports

The Senate Appropriations committee provided $2 million to the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) to enhance the website Oversight.gov, which provides a central repository for Inspector General reports from dozens of federal Inspectors General.

The website currently is funded through a pass-the-hat mechanism, where each Inspector General kicks in some money to help pay for CIGIE. This appropriation, which is made to the GSA Inspector General but is directed towards CIGIE, is the first time there is a direct appropriation for CIGIE’s work. (Disclosure: we submitted testimony in support of a direct appropriation for Oversight.gov, as did a coalition of organizations coordinated by the Project on Government Oversight.)

While an impressive first step, the Oversight.gov website can be significantly improved, and this will provide the funds to do that.

Here is the language from the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill for 2019, as reported by the full committee:

In addition to the foregoing appropriations, $2,000,000 to remain available until expended, shall be transferred to the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency for enhancements to oversight.gov: Provided, That these amounts shall be in addition to any other amounts available to the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency for such purpose.

The House did not include comparable language in its FSGG appropriations bill, so the measures will need to be reconciled.

The FSGG report language goes further in explaining what is expected in connection with the website.

  • CIGIE is directed to report within 120 days with a spend plan for the website, including additional features and functionality. We outlined many of the features and functions we would like to see in our testimony.
  • All IGs are encouraged to provide timely updates to Oversight.gov.
  • CIGIE is to look into tracking unmet IG recommendations.

Here’s the report text:

Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency Website. — The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency [CIGIE] was established by the Inspector General Re- form Act of 2008. The Council is made up of 73 individual Inspectors General [IGs] from both the Executive and Legislative branches and 6 integrity-related senior officials. CIGIE’s mission is to address integrity, economy, and effectiveness issues that transcend individual Government agencies and increase the professionalism and effectiveness of the IG workforce.

In fiscal year 2016, CIGIE developed a working group charged with developing a website to consolidate in one place all public reports from inspectors general to improve the public’s access to independent information about the Federal Government. The Committee commends CIGIE for its efforts to develop this website for the public to follow the ongoing oversight work of all IGs that publicly post reports. With the launch of Oversight.gov, users can now sort, search, and filter the site’s database of public reports across agencies to find oversight areas of interest.

IG recommendations have the potential to save significant taxpayer dollars, but agencies continue to fail to implement many of these recommendations. The Committee believes a centralized database will help Congress, agencies, and taxpayers track outstanding recommendations and will ultimately make the federal government more efficient and effective.

In addition to funds otherwise available to CIGIE, the Committee recommendation includes $2,000,000 to be transferred to CIGIE’s revolving fund to enhance Oversight.gov, including the development of a database that contains the status of open IG recommendations.

As CIGIE scales a pilot program of select IGs to the entire IG community, the Committee encourages all IGs to provide timely updates to Oversight.gov to ensure the open recommendation database is regularly updated.

No later than 120 days after enactment, CIGIE is directed to report to the Committee on Appropriations with a spend plan on the proposed use of the use of funds, including additional website features and functionality and interest from CIGIE members in regularly providing updated information for the open IG recommendation repository.


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