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Office of Inspector General

Due to the evolving situation concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19), the FEC OIG is processing mail on an intermittent basis, and strongly encourages you to file all inquiries and/or complaints through the FEC OIG Hotline Portal.

Office of Inspector General mission

The FEC OIG is committed to detect and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse, violations of law, and to promote economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the operations of the FEC. The OIG strives, as an agent of positive change, to promote improvements in the management of FEC programs and operations by independently conducting audits, reviews, and investigations. Our overriding objective is excellence and continuous improvement.

Core values and organization chart

Audits, inspections, special reviews

Audits of FEC programs and operations assist in determining if FEC’s programs and operations are efficient and cost-effective. Additionally, both audits and special reviews aim to identify compliance and/or root cause analysis into FEC programs and operations. These reviews can be limited in scope or broadly defined depending on the topic. The objective is to provide a final report that identifies areas for improvement to increase the effectiveness and efficiencies of agency operations.

Additionally, the OIG has the responsibility to perform follow-up assessments to ensure that management has effectively implemented OIG recommendations.

Additional audit resources:

Investigations

The OIG has authority to investigate claims relating to FEC programs and operations. OIG investigations aim to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and misconduct. Investigators may analyze complaints from employees, contractors, and/or United States citizens to determine if the alleged actions violate any law, regulation, or policy and impact FEC programs and/or operations. The subject of an OIG investigation may range from any agency employee, FEC contractor, consultant, or a person or entity involved in alleged wrongdoing. OIG investigations may address administrative, civil, or criminal violations of laws, regulations, and policies.

The OIG does not have the authority to investigate equal employment opportunity matters or Hatch Act violations. If you wish to file a complaint regarding an equal employment opportunity matter, please contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the FEC Equal Employment Opportunity Office. If you wish to file a complaint regarding a Hatch Act violation, please contact the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. If you wish to file a complaint regarding a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), please contact the FEC Office of General Counsel.

Matters appropriate for an OIG investigation:

  • Theft
  • Misuse of Resources
  • Acquisition Fraud
  • Employee Misconduct
  • Mismanagement
  • Retaliation
  • Time and Attendance Fraud
  • Travel Fraud
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Ethical Violations
  • Abuse of Authority
  • Personnel Action (HR)

How to submit a complaint:

If you wish to file a complaint with the FEC OIG, please provide sufficient information so that we can initiate an inquiry as insufficient information can hinder the OIG’s investigation of the complaint. When filing a complaint with the OIG, you may do so via the following three methods:

  1. File a complaint through the FEC OIG Hotline Portal (highly encouraged)
  2. File a complaint by completing the Hotline Complaint Form and mailing it to:
Mail

Federal Election Commission
Office of Inspector General
1050 First Street, NE Suite 1010
Washington, DC 20463

3. File a complaint in person at the OIG or via telephone by calling the OIG Hotline (202-694-1015) from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays. You may also dial toll-free at 1-800-424-9530 (press 0; then dial 1015).

The OIG will protect your confidentiality to the fullest extent practicable, by not disclosing your identity. In very rare circumstances, it may be necessary for the OIG to disclose the identity of its sources. For example, in a criminal investigation, the OIG may be required to reveal the identity of its source to the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is handling the case. If the OIG is required to reveal the identity of a source who requested confidentially, the source will be notified prior to disclosure and provided an explanation as to why his or her identify must be revealed. All sources who provide information to the OIG are protected from retaliation under federal law.

Whistleblower protections

If you believe that you are being retaliated against for making a protected disclosure of wrongdoing or gross mismanagement to FEC management, FEC Office of Inspector General (OIG), or to a member of Congress, you may file a complaint with the OIG or the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC). The OSC is an independent federal investigative agency and its primary mission is to safeguard the merit system by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially whistleblower retaliation.

If you have any questions about any of the information on this web page, or are concerned that you have experienced retaliation for blowing the whistle, you may contact the FEC OIG, the OSC, or review this OSC pamphlet, “Know Your Rights When Reporting Wrongs.”

What is a whistleblower?

A whistleblower is a person who makes a protected disclosure that they reasonably believe evidences a violation of law, rule, or regulation, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety or censorship related to scientific research or analysis. Whistleblowers can bring his/her accusations to the attention of an OIG, a member of congress, or another employee designated by the head of the agency to receive such disclosures. Additionally, a whistleblower can bring allegations to light by contacting a third party outside of an accused organization such as the OSC, and/or law enforcement. Whistleblowers play a critical role in keeping our government honest, efficient, and accountable.

Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA)

The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) was established in 1989 and amended in 2012 (Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act) and 2017 (Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017). The WPA protects Federal employees, former federal employees, and applicants for employment who lawfully disclose information they reasonably believe evidences a violation of law, rule, or regulation, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. Under the WPA, certain federal employees may not take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take; any personnel action against an employee or applicant for employment because of the employee or applicant’s protected whistleblowing. See 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b) (8).

The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 (WPEA) strengthened the protections for federal employees who disclose evidence of waste, fraud, or abuse. Additionally, the WPEA also requires that any non-disclosure policy, form, or agreement (NDA) include a statement that advises that signing a NDA does not supersede, conflict or alter an employee’s rights, or liabilities created by existing statue or Executive Order. The WPEA provides that any such policy, form or agreement executed without the language may be enforced as long as agencies give employees notice of the statement.

The Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, also recognized as the Dr. Chris Kirpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel Reauthorization Act of 2017 provides additional protections to Federal employees who are retaliated against for disclosing waste, fraud and abuse. Specifically, those protections:

  • Provide enhanced protections and expedites investigations of instances in which probationary federal employees are fired for whistleblowing;
  • Enact reforms to ensure that managers who retaliate against whistleblowers are held accountable;
  • Provide the OSC with adequate access to information from federal agencies to allow for complete investigations and better to protect whistleblowers; and
  • Ensure that all Federal employees are informed of their rights as whistleblowers and requires annual and tri-annual training to staff and managers on protections;

41 U.S.C. § 4712 provides that some whistleblower protections have been granted to employees of federal contractors, subcontractors, grantees, or subgrantees. This is effective for contracts, grants, and task orders awarded on or after July 1, 2013.

Examples

In order to fall within the scope of whistleblower protection, you must show that:

  • You made a protected disclosure (5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(8) or engaged in a protected activity 5 U.S.C. §2302(9);
  • An acting official used authority to take, or fail to take (or threaten to take or fail to take), a personnel action against, or threatened to take such action against you:
  • An acting official had actual or constructive knowledge of the disclosure or activity; and
  • A disclosure or activity was a contributing factor in the personnel action.

A few examples of retaliation:

  • A supervisor removes a significant job duty of an employee because the employee reported safety violations to the head of the agency.
  • An employee is terminated because they reported to the Office of Inspector General that an agency employee is not complying with an agency policy.
  • A supervisor directs a manager to give an employee an unfavorable evaluation because they filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel regarding a prohibited personnel practice.

How to submit retaliation complaint with the FEC OIG:

If you believe that you are being retaliated against for making a protected disclosure of wrongdoing or gross mismanagement to FEC management, FEC OIG, or to a member of Congress, you may file a complaint with the FEC OIG or the OSC. In doing so, please provide sufficient information so that the investigative authority can initiate an inquiry.

If you wish to file a complaint with the FEC OIG, please provide sufficient information (to include your name and how best to contact you) as insufficient information can hinder the OIG’s investigation of the complaint. When filing a retaliation complaint with the OIG, you may do so via the following three methods:

  1. File a complaint through the FEC OIG Hotline Portal (highly encouraged)
  2. File a complaint by completing the Hotline Complaint Form and mailing it to:
Mail

Federal Election Commission
Office of Inspector General
1050 First Street, NE Suite 1010
Washington, DC 20463

3. File a complaint in person at the OIG or via telephone by calling the OIG Hotline (202-694-1015) from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays. You may also dial toll-free at 1-800-424-9530 (press 0; then dial 1015).

OIG Authority

The Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, created independent oversight units, called Offices of Inspector General, at enumerated federal agencies. The mission of the OIGs, as spelled out in the Act, is to:

  • Conduct and supervise independent and objective audits and investigations relating to agency programs and operations
  • Promote economy, effectiveness and efficiency within the agency
  • Prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse in agency programs and operations
  • Review and provide recommendations regarding existing and proposed legislation and regulations relating to agency programs and operations
  • Keep the agency head and the Congress fully and currently informed of problems in agency programs and operations.
  • To ensure objectivity, the IG Act empowers IGs with authority to:
    • Determine programs and/or operations for review (audit, special reviews, inspections)
    • Access to all pertinent information; and
    • Authority to publish findings and recommendations

Additionally, IG’s are required to report to the Commission particularly serious or flagrant problems, abuses, or deficiencies relating to the administration of agency programs and operations.

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