Federal Election Commission

Office of Inspector General -- Semiannual Report

Period ending March 31, 2003

If you require the entire printed version of this report, contact the Office of Inspector General, Federal Election Commission, 999 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20463 or call Dorothy Maddox-Holland, Special Assistant, phone: (202) 694-1015, fax: (202) 501-8134, or e-mail: [email protected]

Executive Summary

        This semiannual report to Congress, covering the period October 1, 2002 through March 31, 2003, reflects our efforts to remain in accordance with the requirements of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended. The Executive Summary provides a summarization, over the past six months, of the major activities and accomplishments of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Office of Inspector General (OIG). The audits and investigations, as well as other activities described in this report have one common attribute – all are aimed at improving the accountability and performance of the Federal Election Commission.

       Due to an inquiry received from Congressman Stephen Horn, Chairman, Oversight Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations, the Office of Inspector General initiated the audit entitled Audit of the FEC’s Public Disclosure Process – (OIG-02-03).  Congressman Horn requested a complete review of how the Commission carries out its disclosure responsibilities and how the use of technology and controls to monitor and remedy reporting discrepancies can be improved.

        The objectives of the audit are to: 1) determine the extent, if any, of disclosure differences between candidate contributions reported by political committees and related committee contributions reportedly received by candidates; and 2) determine whether an adequate process is in place to remedy reporting discrepancies.

        Because the Commission’s public disclosure system is a multifaceted process, a substantial amount of meetings have been conducted with management officials in order to understand the entire disclosure process. During those meetings, the data coding and entry functions of the disclosure process was discussed and documented. In addition, a campaign finance computer database was created which will allow the OIG to perform a detailed analysis of campaign finance data. An extensive amount of time has been devoted and the OIG staff remains committed to completing this audit. For more information see the section entitled Audit, starting on page 7.

        As reported in the previous semiannual report, the audit entitled Agency Controls for Governing the Process for Procurement of Vendor Training Services (OIG-00-01) still has four outstanding recommendations.  The audit, released September 2000, was originally conducted to assess economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of management controls governing the process for procurement of training services obtained through outside vendors.  The follow-up work conducted included reviewing various documents and working papers pertaining to the training audit. 

        While the OIG concluded that agency controls governing the process for procurement of vendor training services were not effective or efficient, no specific instances of fraud or abuse was detected. For a detailed description of the follow-up work conducted, see the Audit Follow-up section, found on page 10.

        The Inspector General staff has the authority to investigate complaints and information received from Commission employees, as well as management officials or others concerning possible violations of FEC programs and operations.  During this reporting period, the OIG received one hotline inquiry. The individual, who requested anonymity, contacted the OIG’s hotline regarding an FEC employee. Based on the information provided, the OIG initiated a preliminary inquiry to determine the validity of the allegations.  For more information, refer to page 12, the section entitled Investigations.       

        Significant accomplishments, as well as general activities pertaining to the Office of Inspector General are summarized below. However, items are described in greater detail, starting on page 13, the section entitled Additional Office of Inspector General Activities.

· During the course of this reporting period, the IG reviewed and provided comments to the draft version of the PCIE / ECIE FY 2002 Progress Report to the President. Annually, the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE) and the Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency (ECIE) gathers information for inclusion in the annual report to the President. The report highlights the major activities of the IG community. In addition to the President, all PCIE / ECIE members, and the House and Senate Committees will receive copies of the final version.

· The PCIE Inspection and Evaluation Committee contacted the OIG to assist with their plans to develop a directory of IG reports on government purchase and travel credit cards. The OIG provided the committee with a copy of the FEC / OIG report entitled Review of the Commission Travel – OIG – 96-02. The directory will provide the OIG community, Congress, media, agency managers, and the general public with a more efficient and comprehensive way to access the work already done on the federal credit card program.

· The OIG received and responded to a questionnaire regarding the inspection and evaluation units within federal offices of inspector general. The President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency, along with the Health and Human Services / Office of Inspector General initiated the survey.