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26 January 2013

Researching Inspector General Investigations

A sends:


In the Inspector General world, it is important to remember that audits are very different animals than investigations, inspections, and management reviews.

While the Offices of Inspector General at federal agencies frequently make many of their AUDITS available online, other types of activities such as inspections, investigations and management reviews are not typically publicized. The results of those activities are not typically published online except when a matter is subject to newsmedia interest so intense that it cannot be ignored.

But these non-audit Inspector General activities comprise an important major aspect of the work of the IG, and they often provide a helpful snapshot of the activities of that OIG. Moreover, such records are particularly useful for news reporting.

You can obtain such a snapshot by asking an OIG for records such as the following:

-- A printout or listing of all investigations closed since XXXXXXXX at the specific OIG. You can mention that you’d like to have them include fields such as: the investigation opening and closing dates, the case number, the title of the investigation, and the subject or category of the investigation, and the disposition of the investigation.

-- A listing of the types of investigations – i.e. The categorizations of investigations done by that Office of Inspector General. Agency OIGs each maintain such a list.

-- A printout or listing of all inspections completed since XXXXXX at the specific OIG.

In any such request, you should mention the Freedom of Information Act.

Here is a convenient list of federal Offices of Inspector General:

You may wish to save or print a copy of this list for future reference.

This discussion is also applicable to state and municipal government inspectors general, and although the public records access laws vary from state to state, a generic reference to the state public records access laws should be sufficient to initiate a request.