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Dollar Value of IGs

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The latest numbers on the effectiveness of the government's 62 inspectors general are now available in a Government Accountability Office report, which quantifies their value in the eternal battles against waste, fraud and abuse: a potential $18 for every dollar invested, GAO said.

In fiscal 2009, IGs "identified $43.3 billion in potential savings from audits and investigations; and reported over 5,900 criminal actions, 1,100 civil actions, 4,460 suspensions or debarments, and over 6,100 indictments resulted from their work," GAO said.

IGs also helped the Recovery Board, receiving more than 7,000 complaints of wrongdoing associated with Recovery Act funds, opening more than 1,500 investigations, and completing more than 1,400 reviews.

What also leaps out from the report, according to Jake Wiens, an investigator for the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight, is that IGs report a feeling of independence from political pressure. "That speaks volumes," he said, about fulfilling the intentions of IG provisions in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law and the 2008 Inspector General Reform Act.

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

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