From the Editor

From the Editor: In Praise of Transparency and US Inspectors General

By Kieran Beer

Transparency, with few exceptions (in general, with regard to clothing, for example), is a virtue.

It enables law enforcement to trace the funds and uncover the schemes of bad guys, as every compliance officer knows, but it is also essential to ensuring an informed electorate in a democracy.

And its utility doesn’t end there: transparency in connection with the workings of government is the best way to keep elected and appointed officials honest.

So obvious is all of this that it reads somewhat platitudinous.

But if the value of transparency is apparent, its exercise can quickly irritate and raise powerful opposition, particularly among governments.

Take the independent inspectors general who investigate waste, mismanagement, malfeasance and outright criminal activity within U.S. federal agencies. At the outset of the Trump presidency, some administration officials vowed to replace the inspectors, even fire them, according to an editorial in The New York Times.

While the administration has since backed down from such bluster, it still hasn’t moved to fill vacancies within the various Office of the Inspectors General, or OIGs, and is now planning to slash their budgets, the news outlet reported this week. More

The inspectors general are not alone of course in enduring budget cuts and suffering from a vacuum of leadership as a result of unfilled, senior-level positions. But that only gives perspective, not solace.

The first of those two recommendations would require FinCEN to hire and train an entire new staff of examiners—a necessity acknowledged by the report.

As things stand, 25 percent of the inspectors general offices have either an acting director or no director at all, including the CIA, National Security Agency, Department of Defense and Social Security Administration, The New York Times noted.

And that’s just plain wrong.

Reports from the various OIGs through the years have proven vital to making the operations of federal agencies more visible to the communities they serve and, in some cases, oversee. In addition to occasionally uncovering waste and deliberate wrongdoing, the reports also routinely propose improvements to running the government.

OIG reports are also a staple of our legal coverage here at ACAMS moneylaundering.com, and their general dissemination is a vital public service. While our database contains a decade’s-worth of the reports, a cursory search back to only 2015 turns up 19 reports for OIGs at the Justice Department, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. alone.

In defense of OIGs, below are the 19 reports referred to above that are available on ACAMS moneylaundering.com. They are an example of the valuable work government employees do and testimony against the wholescale deconstruction of government institutions, not least those that serve as watchdogs for the public good.

DOJ OIG Reports (seven total):

 

DOJ OIG Publishes Report on Oversight of Forfeiture, Seizure Activities

The U.S. Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General released a report on cash seizure and forfeiture oversight that concludes that the agency does not evaluate forfeiture data to examine the extent to which seizures benefit law enforcement efforts or risk civil liberties.

Original | Brief

 
   

March 29, 2017

 

DOJ OIG: Over $258 Million in Assistance Provided by Asset Forfeiture Fund in FY 2016

The U.S. Justice Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control published a report that reviews the annual accounting of drug control funds and related divisions, including the Assets Forfeiture Fund and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Program. 

Original | Brief

 
   

January 31, 2017

 

US Justice Department OIG Issues Audit Report on Asset Forfeiture Fund

The U.S. Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General issued an audit report of annual financial statements of the Assets Forfeiture Fund and Seized Asset Deposit Fund for the previous year, highlighting one significant deficiency related to inadequate internal controls. 

Original | Brief

 
   

December 9, 2016

 

DOJ OIG Publishes Report on FBI Cyber Threat Prioritization

The U.S. Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General issued an audit report on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s methodology for prioritization of cyber threats. The audit report identified weaknesses and called for objective and data-driven methodology. 

Original | Brief

 
   

July 21, 2016

 

DOJ Inspector General Submits Semiannual Report to Congress

The U.S. Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General published its semiannual report to congress which covers the agency's operations from Oct. 1, 2015 until March 31, 2016. The report includes cases related to money laundering, terrorism and fraud, among other topics. 

Original | Brief

 
   

May 31, 2016

 

DOJ's OIG Acknowledges FBI Progress, Recommends Steps to Advance Cyber Capabilities

The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General issued an audit report on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's implementation of its cybersecurity initiative that highlighted the remaining issues hindering the law enforcement agency from fully meeting its goals. 

Original | Brief

 
   

July 30, 2015

 

DOJ's OIG Highlights Developments Related to AML/CTF Cases

In its semiannual report to Congress, the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General summarized the work it conducted from Oct. 1, 2014 until March 31, 2015. The report covers cases related to anti-money laundering, counterterrorist financing and fraud, among other topics. 

Original | Brief

 
   

April 30, 2015

 

FDIC OIG (seven total):

 

OIG Publishes Audit Results of FDIC's Information Security Programs

The Office of the Inspector General concluded in an audit report that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has overall implemented various information security program controls that are in line with the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014. 

Original | Brief

 
   

November 15, 2016

 

FDIC Office of Inspector General Discusses AML Activities in Semiannual Report to Congress

The Office of Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation published its semiannual report to Congress for the period April 1, 2016 through September 30, 2016, highlighting supervision, money laundering and insurance issues. 

Original | Brief

 
   

October 1, 2016

 

FDIC Inspector General Publishes Report on Cybersecurity Controls

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Office of Inspector General published a report concerning the agency’s controls and practices for covered systems pursuant to the Cybersecurity Act of 2015. 

Original | Brief

 
   

August 11, 2016

 

FDIC Outlines Process for Identifying, Reporting Major Information Security Incidents

The Office of Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation published an audit report concerning its process for identifying and reporting major information security incidents, including consultation with Congressional committees on security issues. 

Original | Brief

 
   

July 8, 2016

 

FDIC Publishes Report on Agency Role in Operation Choke Point

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation released an audit report highlighting its part in the creation and execution of the U.S. Justice Department initiative known as Operation Choke Point and outlining the agency's supervisory approach to institutions conducting business with high risk merchants. 

Original | Brief

 
   

September 17, 2015

 

FDIC Inspector General Highlights AML Activities in Semiannual Report to Congress

The Office of Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation published its semiannual report to Congress, reflecting the agency's work from Oct. 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, including supervision, money laundering and insurance fund issues. 

Original | Brief

 
   

June 10, 2015

 

FDIC Inspector General Publishes Report on Agency's Cybersecurity Supervision

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General evaluated the agency's efforts to ensure that financial institutions and external technology service providers are prepared to protect against, detect, respond to and recover from cybersecurity threats, among other purposes. 

Original | Brief

 
   

March 1, 2015

 

Treasury OIG (five total):

 

Treasury OIG Publishes Report on OCC Oversight Standards of Independent Consultants

The Treasury Department's Office of Inspector General issued a report on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's standards and oversight of banks' use of independent consultants concluding that the regulator generally complied with requirements. 

Original | Brief

 
   

February 14, 2017

 

Treasury OIG Publishes Report on FinCEN's BSA Enforcement

The Treasury Department's Office of Inspector General issued a report on the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's administration and enforcement of the Bank Secrecy Act, including the assessment of civil monetary penalties. 

Original | Brief

 
   

November 16, 2016

 

Treasury OIG Publishes Report on Cybersecurity Activities

The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Inspector General published an audit report which noted that the agency fulfilled its role and responsibilities under executive order 13636 which requires the establishment of a framework to reduce cyber risk to critical infrastructure. 

Original | Brief

 
   

April 28, 2016

 

Treasury OIG: FinCEN Must Continue to Refine Efforts Concerning MSBs

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General published an audit report on the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's activities regarding the administration and enforcement of the Bank Secrecy Act in relation the money services business industry. 

Original | Brief

 
   

November 10, 2015

 

Treasury OIG Publishes Report on OFAC's Libya Sanctions Administration

The Treasury Department's Office of Inspector General issued an audit report concerning the Office of Foreign Assets Control's implementation and administration of sanctions against Libya. The report also discusses the implications this study could have on other sanctions programs. 

Original | Brief

 
   

October 26, 2015

 

kbeer@acams.org

Follow me @KieranBeer on Twitter

Skip Navigation Links
Skip navigation links
Legs & Regs 
Countries 
QUIZZES
Resources 
News 
Enforcement Actions