Why GAO Did This Study
The USDA OIG plays a critical role in addressing issues of economy, efficiency, and potential fraud involving scarce taxpayer dollars allocated to USDA.
GAO was asked to review a number of issues related to the OIG's operations in comparison to other cabinet-level OIGs. The objectives of this report were to provide information on the USDA OIG's (1) budget and staffing levels, (2) reported accomplishments, (3) reported oversight coverage, (4) reported quality of work, and (5) oversight of USDA's reported causes of estimated improper payments. To address these objectives, GAO obtained information over the 3-year period covering fiscal years 2009 through 2011 on the OIG's budget and staff levels and the reported monetary and nonmonetary accomplishments from this work. GAO obtained similar information reported by the OIGs in all cabinet-level departments. In addition, GAO summarized information on the USDA OIG's oversight coverage reported by audits and investigations, and the quality of the OIG's work as reported by peer reviews performed by other OIGs. Also, GAO obtained information on the OIG's audit of USDA's reporting on improper payments.
What GAO Recommends
GAO is not making specific recommendations in this report. The USDA Inspector General commented that the draft of this report provided an objective and comprehensive review of the OIG.