Bill would give IGs police power

klunney@govexec.com

Criminal investigators in 23 federal inspectors general offices would be granted permanent special police powers under a legislative proposal put forth by the Justice Department and discussed before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Wednesday.

The proposal would legally recognize police powers-including authority to carry firearms, make arrests, and issue warrants-already exercised through a temporary provision, known as "blanket deputation," established by DOJ. On January 31, 2001, the provision will run out.

The 1978 Inspector General Act created independent audit and investigative offices in 12 federal agencies. OIGs have been established at several other agencies since then, but the law does not provide firearm, arrest, or warrant authority for IG agents.

In recent years, OIGs have become more involved in investigating criminal conspiracies against the government-making firearm, arrest, and warrant powers necessary for safety and for reducing requests for traditional law enforcement support.

In the mid-1980s, the Department of Justice approved a temporary provision allowing the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) to grant special police powers to fully trained IG agents on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the Attorney General. Due to the administrative burdens caused by a case-by-case system, the provision was expanded to a blanket deputation for the 23 major OIGS.

"We have reached a point where we are now providing deputations to over 2,500 inspector general personnel. To put this in perspective, there are approximately 2,800 deputy U.S. marshals. The USMS simply lacks the resources to process and monitor all of these individuals-who do not report to the USMS for any practical purpose," said Nicholas M. Gess, associate deputy attorney general at DOJ.

Gaston L. Gianni, Jr., vice chair of the president's council on integrity and efficiency, said taking away IG's special police powers would "jeopardize literally thousands of open investigations of fraud against agency programs across government."

Sen. Susan M. Collins, R-Maine, a member of the Governmental Affairs Committee, has introduced legislation that would reform other aspects of the 1978 IG Act. Key provisions in S. 870 include: a prohibition against accepting cash awards or bonuses; a proposed pay raise; annual, instead of semi-annual reports, external reviews of OIG operations by the General Accounting Office or another outside party, and a renewable nine-year term of office for inspectors general.

S. 870 is currently in committee in the Senate.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.