The Washington Post reports today about an incident in which an Inspector General for the Commerce department received a “filtered” version that watered down telework abuse incidents in the U.S. Patent Office.
The original report, seen here described “‘fundamental issues’ with the business model of the patent office”, and that oversight was “Oversight of the telework program — and of examiners based at the Alexandria headquarters — was “completely ineffective,”.
The final report was only 16 pages, compared to the original one, which was twice the size.
The report confirmed the fears allayed in the aforementioned letter to Congress: The post reports that “Investigators recommended “unmitigated access” to records when abuse is suspected.
The version supplied to the inspector general, though, explained that managers did not provide full access to computer records that could substantiate allegations of fraud because officials did not want to be seen as “big brother” through electronic surveillance.”
This is in direct violation to the Inspector General Act of 1978, which mandates that each Inspector General is to “have access to all records, reports, audits, reviews, documents, papers, recommendations, or other material available”. And yet, this tactic is growing all-too-common with regard to Inspectors General and their ability to audit the federal government for waste, fraud, and mismanagement.