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Text of A bill to establish the Office of the Inspector General of the Senate.

This bill was introduced on March 1, 2011, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Mar 1, 2011 (Introduced).

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Source: GPO

II

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 428

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 1, 2011

introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration

A BILL

To establish the Office of the Inspector General of the Senate.

1.

Office of the Inspector General of the Senate

(a)

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Committee

The term Committee means the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate.

(2)

Employee of the Senate

The term employee of the Senate means an employee whose pay is disbursed by the Secretary of the Senate.

(3)

Inspector General

The term Inspector General means the Inspector General of the Senate.

(4)

Office

The term Office means the Office of the Inspector General of the Senate.

(b)

Establishment of office

There is established the Office of the Inspector General of the Senate within the Senate. The Office shall be headed by the Inspector General of the Senate.

(c)

Inspector General

(1)

Appointment

(A)

In general

The Inspector General shall be appointed by, and under the general supervision of the majority leader and the minority leader of the Senate, acting jointly. The majority leader and the minority leader of the Senate shall appoint the Inspector General without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of integrity and demonstrated ability in accounting, auditing, financial analysis, law, management analysis, public administration, or investigations. The Inspector General shall be subject to the policy direction and oversight of the Committee.

(B)

Initial appointment

Not later than January 1, 2010, the majority leader and the minority leader of the Senate shall appoint the first Inspector General under this section.

(2)

Term of service

The Inspector General shall serve for a term of 5 years, and an individual serving as Inspector General may be reappointed for not more than 2 additional terms.

(3)

Removal

The Inspector General may be removed from office before the expiration of a term only by a 2/3 majority vote of the Committee, in consultation with the majority leader and the minority leader of the Senate and the Committee on Appropriations.

(4)

Salary

The Inspector General shall be paid at an annual rate of pay equal to the maximum rate payable for an employee of standing committees under section 105(e) of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 1968 (2 U.S.C. 61–1(e)).

(d)

Duties

(1)

In general

It shall be the duty and responsibility of the Inspector General to—

(A)

provide policy direction for and to conduct, supervise, and coordinate audits and investigations relating to the programs and operations of the Senate;

(B)

review existing and proposed legislation and regulations relating to programs and operations of the Senate and to make recommendations in the semiannual reports required by subsection (e) concerning the impact of such legislation or regulations on the economy and efficiency in the administration of programs and operations administered or financed by the Senate or the prevention and detection of fraud and abuse in such programs and operations;

(C)

recommend policies for, and to conduct, supervise, or coordinate other activities carried out or financed by the Senate for the purpose of promoting economy and efficiency in the administration of, or preventing and detecting fraud and abuse in, its programs and operations;

(D)

recommend policies for, and to conduct, supervise, or coordinate relationships within the Senate with respect to—

(i)

all matters relating to the promotion of economy and efficiency in the administration of, or the prevention and detection of fraud and abuse in, programs and operations administered or financed by the Senate; or

(ii)

the identification and prosecution of participants in such fraud or abuse; and

(E)

keep the Committee and the Committee on Appropriations fully and currently informed, by means of the reports required by subsection (e) and otherwise, concerning fraud and other serious problems, abuses, and deficiencies relating to the administration of programs and operations administered or financed by the Senate, to recommend corrective action concerning such problems, abuses, and deficiencies, and to report on the progress made in implementing such corrective action.

(2)

Administration

(A)

In general

In carrying out the responsibilities specified in paragraph (1)(A), the Inspector General shall—

(i)

comply with standards established by the Comptroller General of the United States for audits of Federal establishments, organizations, programs, activities, and functions;

(ii)

establish guidelines for determining when it shall be appropriate to use non-Federal auditors; and

(iii)

take appropriate steps to assure that any work performed by non-Federal auditors complies with the standards established by the Comptroller General described under clause (i).

(B)

Compliance

For purposes of determining compliance with subparagraph (A)(i) with respect to whether internal quality controls are in place and operating and whether established audit standards, policies, and procedures are being followed by the Office, reviews shall be performed exclusively by an audit entity in the Federal Government, including the Government Accountability Office.

(3)

Coordination and cooperation

In carrying out the duties and responsibilities established under this Act, the Inspector General shall give particular regard to the activities of the Comptroller General of the United States with a view toward avoiding duplication and insuring effective coordination and cooperation.

(4)

Reports to Attorney General

In carrying out the duties and responsibilities established under this Act, the Inspector General shall report expeditiously to the Attorney General whenever the Inspector General has reasonable grounds to believe there has been a violation of Federal criminal law.

(e)

Semiannual reports

(1)

Definitions

In this section—

(A)

the term disallowed cost means a questioned cost that management, in a management decision, has sustained or agreed should not be charged to the Government;

(B)

the term final action means—

(i)

the completion of all actions that the management of a Senate operation or program has concluded, in its management decision, are necessary with respect to the findings and recommendations included in an audit report; and

(ii)

in the event that the management of a Senate operation or program concludes no action is necessary, final action occurs when a management decision has been made;

(C)

the term management decision means the evaluation by the management of a Senate operation or program of the findings and recommendations included in an audit report and the issuance of a final decision by management concerning its response to such findings and recommendations, including actions concluded to be necessary;

(D)

the term questioned cost means a cost that is questioned by the Office because of—

(i)

an alleged violation of a provision of a law, regulation, contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or other agreement or document governing the expenditure of funds;

(ii)

a finding that, at the time of the audit, such cost is not supported by adequate documentation; or

(iii)

a finding that the expenditure of funds for the intended purpose is unnecessary or unreasonable;

(E)

the term recommendation that funds be put to better use means a recommendation by the Office that funds could be used more efficiently if management of a Senate operation or program took actions to implement and complete the recommendation, including—

(i)

reductions in outlays;

(ii)

deobligation of funds from programs or operations;

(iii)

withdrawal of interest subsidy costs on loans or loan guarantees, insurance, or bonds;

(iv)

costs not incurred by implementing recommended improvements related to the operations of the program or operation, a contractor or grantee;

(v)

avoidance of unnecessary expenditures noted in preaward reviews of contract or grant agreements; or

(vi)

any other savings which are specifically identified; and

(F)

the term unsupported cost means a cost that is questioned by the Office because the Office found that, at the time of the audit, such cost is not supported by adequate documentation.

(2)

In general

Not later than April 30 and October 31 of each year, the Inspector General shall prepare semiannual reports summarizing the activities of the Office during the immediately preceding 6-month periods ending March 31 and September 30. Such reports shall include—

(A)

a description of significant problems, abuses, and deficiencies relating to the administration of programs and operations of the Senate disclosed by such activities during the reporting period;

(B)

a description of the recommendations for corrective action made by the Office during the reporting period with respect to significant problems, abuses, or deficiencies identified under subparagraph (A);

(C)

an identification of each significant recommendation described in previous semiannual reports on which corrective action has not been completed;

(D)

a summary of matters referred to prosecutive authorities and the prosecutions and convictions which have resulted;

(E)

a listing, subdivided according to subject matter, of each audit report issued by the Office during the reporting period and for each audit report, where applicable, the total dollar value of questioned costs (including a separate category for the dollar value of unsupported costs) and the dollar value of recommendations that funds be put to better use;

(F)

a summary of each particularly significant report;

(G)

statistical tables showing the total number of audit reports and the total dollar value of questioned costs (including a separate category for the dollar value of unsupported costs), for audit reports—

(i)

for which no management decision had been made by the commencement of the reporting period;

(ii)

which were issued during the reporting period;

(iii)

for which a management decision was made during the reporting period, including—

(I)

the dollar value of disallowed costs; and

(II)

the dollar value of costs not disallowed; and

(iv)

for which no management decision has been made by the end of the reporting period;

(H)

statistical tables showing the total number of audit reports and the dollar value of recommendations that funds be put to better use by management, for audit reports—

(i)

for which no management decision had been made by the commencement of the reporting period;

(ii)

which were issued during the reporting period;

(iii)

for which a management decision was made during the reporting period, including—

(I)

the dollar value of recommendations that were agreed to by management; and

(II)

the dollar value of recommendations that were not agreed to by management; and

(iv)

for which no management decision has been made by the end of the reporting period;

(I)

a summary of each audit report issued before the commencement of the reporting period for which no management decision has been made by the end of the reporting period (including the date and title of each such report), an explanation of the reasons such management decision has not been made, and a statement concerning the desired timetable for achieving a management decision on each such report;

(J)

a description and explanation of the reasons for any significant revised management decision made during the reporting period; and

(K)

information concerning any significant management decision with which the Inspector General is in disagreement.

(3)

Comments

Thirty days before the submission of a semiannual report under paragraph (2), the Inspector General shall allow the programs or operations of the Senate being investigated to comment on the report and will include any comments or correspondence from the program or operation of the Senate being investigated as it relates to applicable audit reports, final actions, management decisions, disallowed costs recovered or unrecovered, and any recommendations that funds be put to better use.

(4)

Public availability

Within 60 days after the transmission of a semiannual report, the Inspector General shall make copies of such report available to the public upon request and at a reasonable cost.

(5)

Reports of certain problems

The Inspector General shall report immediately to the Committee and the Committee on Appropriations whenever the Inspector General becomes aware of particularly serious or flagrant problems, abuses, or deficiencies relating to the administration of Senate programs and operations.

(6)

Public disclosures of information

(A)

In general

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to authorize the public disclosure of information which is—

(i)

specifically prohibited from disclosure by any other provision of law;

(ii)

specifically required by Executive order to be protected from disclosure in the interest of national defense or national security or in the conduct of foreign affairs; or

(iii)

a part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

(B)

Exception

Notwithstanding paragraph (A)(iii), any report under this subsection may be disclosed to the public in a form which includes information with respect to a part of an ongoing criminal investigation if such information has been included in a public record.

(C)

No withholding of information from committees

Except to the extent and in the manner provided under section 6103(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, nothing in this subsection or in any other provision of this Act shall be construed to authorize or permit the withholding of information from the Committee or Committee on Appropriations.

(f)

Website

(1)

In general

The Office shall establish and maintain a website.

(2)

Requirements for the Office website

(A)

Posting of reports and audits

The Inspector General shall—

(i)

not later than 3 days after any report or audit (or portion of any report or audit) is made publicly available, post that report or audit (or portion of that report or audit) on the website of the Office; and

(ii)

ensure that any posted report or audit (or portion of that report or audit) described under clause (i)—

(I)

is easily accessible from a direct link on the homepage of the website of the Office;

(II)

includes a summary of the findings of the Inspector General; and

(III)

is in a format that—

(aa)

is searchable and downloadable; and

(bb)

facilitates printing by individuals of the public accessing the website.

(B)

Reporting of fraud, waste, and abuse

(i)

In general

The Inspector General shall establish and maintain a direct link on the homepage of the website for individuals to report fraud, waste, and abuse. Individuals reporting fraud, waste, or abuse using the direct link established under this subparagraph shall not be required to provide personally identifying information relating to that individual.

(ii)

Anonymity

The Inspector General shall not disclose the identity of any individual making a report under this subparagraph without the consent of the individual, unless the Inspector General determines that such a disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation.

(g)

Investigation of complaints of employees and members

(1)

Authority

The Inspector General may receive and investigate complaints or information from an employee of the Senate or a Senator concerning the possible existence of an activity constituting a violation of law, rules, or regulations, or mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to the public health and safety, including complaints or other relative information.

(2)

Nondisclosure

The Inspector General shall not, after receipt of a complaint or information from an employee of the Senate or a Senator, disclose the identity of the employee or Senator without the consent of the employee or Senator, unless required by law or the Inspector General determines such disclosure is otherwise unavoidable during the course of the investigation.

(3)

Prohibiting retaliation

An employee of the Senate or Senator who has authority to take, direct others to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action, shall not, with respect to such authority, take or threaten to take any action against any employee or Senator as a reprisal for making a complaint or disclosing information to the Inspector General, unless the complaint was made or the information disclosed with the knowledge that it was false or with willful disregard for its truth or falsity.

(4)

Independence in carrying out duties

A Senator or an employee of the Senate, including the majority leader or minority leader of the Senate, or the Committee, may not prevent or prohibit the Inspector General from carrying out any of the duties or responsibilities assigned to the Inspector General under this section.

(h)

Powers

(1)

In general

In addition to the authority otherwise provided by this Act, the Inspector General in carrying out the provisions of this Act, is authorized to—

(A)

have access to all records, reports, audits, reviews, documents, papers, recommendations, or other material available which relate to Senate programs and operations with respect to which the Inspector General has responsibilities under this Act;

(B)

make such investigations and reports relating to the administration of the Senate programs and operations, in the judgment of the Inspector General, necessary or desirable;

(C)

request such information or assistance as may be necessary for carrying out the duties and responsibilities provided by this Act from any Federal, State, or local governmental agency or unit thereof;

(D)

require by subpoena the production of all information, documents, reports, answers, records, accounts, papers, and other data and documentary evidence necessary in the performance of the functions assigned by this Act, which subpoena, in the case of contumacy or refusal to obey, shall be enforceable by order of any appropriate United States district court, except that procedures other than subpoenas shall be used by the Inspector General to obtain documents and information from Senate programs and operations;

(E)

administer to or take from any person an oath, affirmation, or affidavit, whenever necessary in the performance of the functions assigned by this Act, which oath, affirmation, or affidavit when administered or taken by or before an employee of the Office designated by the Inspector General shall have the same force and effect as if administered or taken by or before an officer having a seal;

(F)

have direct and prompt access to the Senate program or operation involved when necessary for any purpose pertaining to the performance of functions and responsibilities under this Act; and

(G)

the extent and in such amounts as may be provided in advance by appropriations Acts, to enter into contracts and other arrangements for audits, studies, analyses, and other services with public agencies and with private persons, and to make such payments as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.

(2)

Staff

(A)

In general

The Inspector General may appoint and fix the pay of such personnel as the Inspector General considers appropriate subject to the approval of the Committee, except that no personnel of the Office (other than the Inspector General) may be paid at an annual rate greater than $500 less than the annual rate of pay of the Inspector General under subsection (c)(4).

(B)

Experts and consultants

In carrying out the functions of the Office, the Inspector General may procure the temporary (not to exceed 1 year) or intermittent services of individual consultants, or organizations thereof, in the same manner and under the same conditions as a standing committee of the Senate may procure such services under section 202(i) of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (2 U. S.C. 72a(i)).

(C)

Independence in appointing staff

No individual may carry out any of the duties or responsibilities of the Office unless the individual is appointed by the Inspector General, or provides services procured by the Inspector General, under this paragraph. Nothing in this subparagraph may be construed to prohibit the Inspector General from entering into a contract or other arrangement for the provision of services under this section.

(3)

Equipment and supplies

The Committee shall provide the Office with appropriate and adequate office space, together with such equipment, supplies, and communications facilities and services as determined by the Inspector General to be necessary for the operation of the Office, and shall provide necessary maintenance services for such office space and the equipment and facilities located therein.

(i)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act $4,000,000 for fiscal year 2011.

(j)

Effective date

This section shall take effect on October 1, 2011.