Appointment; supervision by Secretary of State; prohibition against interference by State Department with certain duties; inspections, audits, and other functions; removal from office
There shall be an Inspector General of the Department of State and the Foreign Service, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, without regard to political affiliation from among individuals exceptionally qualified for the position by virtue of their integrity and their demonstrated ability in accounting, auditing, financial analysis, law, management analysis, public administration, or investigations, or their knowledge and experience in the conduct of foreign affairs. The Inspector General shall report to and be under the general supervision of the Secretary of State. Neither the Secretary of State nor any other officer of the Department shall prevent or prohibit the Inspector General from initiating, carrying out, or completing any audit or investigation, or from issuing any subpena during the course of any audit or investigation. The Inspector General shall periodically (at least every 5 years) inspect and audit the administration of activities and operations of each Foreign Service post and each bureau and other operating unit of the Department of State, and shall perform such other functions as the Secretary of State may prescribe, except that the Secretary of State shall not assign to the Inspector General any general program operating responsibilities.
The Inspector General may be removed from office by the President. The President shall communicate the reasons for any such removal to both Houses of Congress.
Subject matter of inspections, investigations, and audits
Inspections, investigations, and audits conducted by or under the direction of the Inspector General shall include the systematic review and evaluation of the administration of activities and operations of Foreign Service posts and bureaus and other operating units of the Department of State, including an examination of—
whether financial transactions and accounts are properly conducted, maintained, and reported;
whether resources are being used and managed with the maximum degree of efficiency, effectiveness, and economy;
whether the administration of activities and operations meets the requirements of applicable laws and regulations and, specifically, whether such administration is consistent with the requirements of section 3905 of this title
whether there exist instances of fraud or other serious problems, abuses, or deficiencies, and whether adequate steps for detection, correction, and prevention have been taken; and
whether policy goals and objectives are being effectively achieved and whether the interests of the United States are being accurately and effectively represented.
Policies and procedures governing inspection and audit activities; coordination and cooperation with Comptroller General; report to Attorney General on criminal law violations; provision of information to employees; conduct of investigations
The Inspector General shall develop and implement policies and procedures for the inspection and audit activities carried out under this section. These policies and procedures shall be consistent with the general policies and guidelines of the Government for inspection and audit activities and shall comply with the standards established by the Comptroller General of the United States for audits of Government agencies, organizations, programs, activities, and functions.
In carrying out the duties and responsibilities established under this section, the Inspector General shall give particular regard to the activities of the Comptroller General of the United States with a view toward insuring effective coordination and cooperation.
In carrying out the duties and responsibilities established under this section, 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.
The Inspector General shall develop and provide to employees—
information detailing their rights to counsel; and
guidelines describing in general terms the policies and procedures of the Office of Inspector General with respect to individuals under investigation other than matters exempt from disclosure under other provisions of law.
Conduct of investigations.—
In conducting investigations of potential violations of Federal criminal law or Federal regulations, the Inspector General shall—
abide by professional standards applicable to Federal law enforcement agencies; and
make every reasonable effort to permit each subject of an investigation an opportunity to provide exculpatory information.
Final reports of investigations.—
In order to ensure that final reports of investigations are thorough and accurate, the Inspector General shall—
make every reasonable effort to ensure that any person named in a final report of investigation has been afforded an opportunity to refute any allegation of wrongdoing or assertion with respect to a material fact made regarding that person’s actions;
include in every final report of investigation any exculpatory information, as well as any inculpatory information, that has been discovered in the course of the investigation.
Required reporting of allegations and investigations and inspector general authority.—
The head of a bureau, post, or other office of the Department of State (in this paragraph referred to as a “Department entity”) shall submit to the Inspector General a report of any allegation of—
waste, fraud, or abuse in a Department program or operation;
criminal or serious misconduct on the part of a Department employee at the FS–1, GS–15, or GM–15 level or higher;
criminal misconduct on the part of a Department employee; and
serious, noncriminal misconduct on the part of any Department employee who is authorized to carry a weapon, make arrests, or conduct searches, such as conduct that, if proved, would constitute perjury or material dishonesty, warrant suspension as discipline for a first offense, or result in loss of law enforcement authority.
The head of a Department entity shall submit to the Inspector General a report of an allegation described in subparagraph (A) not later than 5 business days after the date on which the head of such Department entity is made aware of such allegation.
Reports by Inspector General and Secretary of State
The Inspector General shall keep the Secretary of State fully and currently informed, by means of the reports required by paragraphs (2) and (3) and otherwise, concerning fraud and other serious problems, abuses, and deficiencies relating to the administration of activities and operations administered or financed by the Department of State.
The Inspector General shall, not later than April 30 of each year, prepare and furnish to the Secretary of State an annual report summarizing the activities of the Inspector General. Such report shall include—
a description of significant problems, abuses, and deficiencies relating to the administration of activities and operations of Foreign Service posts, and bureaus and other operating units of the Department of State, which were disclosed by the Inspector General within the reporting period;
a description of the recommendations for corrective action made by the Inspector General during the reporting period with respect to significant problems, abuses, or deficiencies described pursuant to subparagraph (A);
an identification of each significant recommendation described in previous annual reports on which corrective action has not been completed;
a summary of matters referred to prosecutive authorities and the prosecutions and convictions which have resulted;
a listing of each audit report completed by the Inspector General during the reporting period; and
a notification, which may be included, if necessary, in the classified portion of the report, of any instance in a case that was closed during the period covered by the report when the Inspector General decided not to afford an individual the opportunity described in subsection (c)(5)(B)(i) to refute any allegation and the rationale for denying such individual that opportunity.
The Secretary of State shall transmit a copy of such annual report within 30 days after receiving it to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and to other appropriate committees, together with a report of the Secretary of State containing any comments which the Secretary of State deems appropriate. Within 60 days after transmitting such reports to those committees, the Secretary of State shall make copies of them available to the public upon request and at a reasonable cost.
The Inspector General shall report immediately to the Secretary of State whenever the Inspector General becomes aware of particularly serious or flagrant problems, abuses, or deficiencies relating to the administration of activities and operations of Foreign Service posts or bureaus or other operating units of the Department of State. The Secretary of State shall transmit any such report to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and to other appropriate committees within 7 days after receiving it, together with a report by the Secretary of State containing any comments the Secretary of State deems appropriate.
Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to authorize the public disclosure by any individual of any information which is—
specifically prohibited from disclosure by any other provision of law; or
specifically required by Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or the conduct of foreign affairs.
Applicability of powers and responsibilities under other statutory provisions; assignment of Service employees to Inspector General; participation in formal interviews
The Inspector General shall have the same authority in carrying out the provisions of this section as is granted under section 6 of the Inspector General Act of 1978 to each Inspector General of an establishment (as defined in section 11(2) of such Act) for carrying out the provisions of that Act, and the responsibilities of other officers of the Government to the Inspector General shall be the same as the responsibilities of the head of an agency or establishment under section 6(b) and (c) of such Act.
At the request of the Inspector General, employees of the Department and members of the Service may be assigned as employees of the Inspector General. The individuals so assigned and individuals appointed pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be responsible solely to the Inspector General, and the Inspector General or his or her designee shall prepare the performance evaluation reports for such individuals.
The Inspector General shall ensure that only officials from the Office of the Inspector General may participate in formal interviews or other formal meetings with the individual who is the subject of an investigation, other than an intelligence-related or sensitive undercover investigation, or except in those situations when the Inspector General has a reasonable basis to believe that such notice would cause tampering with witnesses, destroying evidence, or endangering the lives of individuals, unless that individual receives prior adequate notice regarding participation by officials of any other agency, including the Department of Justice, in such interviews or meetings.
Reception and investigation of complaints or information; disclosure of identity of informer
The Inspector General may receive and investigate complaints or information from a member of the Service or employee of the Department concerning the possible existence of an activity constituting a violation of laws or regulations, constituting mismanagement, gross waste of funds, or abuse of authority, or constituting a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
The Inspector General shall not, after receipt of a complaint or information from a member of the Service or employee of the Department, disclose the identity of such individual without the consent of such individual, unless the Inspector General determines such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation.
Review of activities and operations of chiefs of mission
Under the general supervision of the Secretary of State, the Inspector General may review activities and operations performed under the direction, coordination, and supervision of chiefs of mission for the purpose of ascertaining their consonance with the foreign policy of the United States and their consistency with the responsibilities of the Secretary of State and the chief of mission.
[Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 209], Oct. 17, 1980, [94 Stat. 2080]; [Pub. L. 99–399, title IV, § 413(a)(6)], Aug. 27, 1986, [100 Stat. 868]; [Pub. L. 99–529, title IV, § 405], Oct. 24, 1986, [100 Stat. 3020]; [Pub. L. 105–277, div. G], subdiv. B, title XXII, § 2208(a), (b), Oct. 21, 1998, [112 Stat. 2681–810]; [Pub. L. 106–113, div. B, § 1000(a)(7) [div. A, title III, § 339(a), (b)]], Nov. 29, 1999, [113 Stat. 1536], 1501A–443; [Pub. L. 114–323, title II, § 203], Dec. 16, 2016, [130 Stat. 1916].)