110-H.R.928

To amend the Inspector General Act of 1978 to enhance the independence of the Inspectors General, to create a Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, and for other purposes.

10/3/2007--Passed House amended.    (There are 2 other summaries)

Improving Government Accountability Act - (Sec. 2) Amends the Inspector General Act of 1978 to allow an Inspector General (IG) to be removed from office prior to the expiration of his or her term only on the grounds of permanent incapacity, inefficiency, neglect of duty, malfeasance, conviction of a felony or conduct involving moral turpitude, knowing violation of a law, gross mismanagement or waste of funds, or abuse of authority.

Requires the head of a federal entity that intends to remove from office or transfer an IG to communicate the reasons to both Houses of Congress at least 30 days before such removal or transfer.

Establishes the term of office of each IG as seven years and permits reappointment. Requires: (1) a committee of IGs of the Inspectors General Council to review nominations of IGs and provide the results to the Senate prior to the confirmation process; and (2) the head of the designated federal entity to ask such committee for a report on the qualifications of each final candidate for IG and to review such report before appointing an IG.

(Sec. 3) Requires an IG to annually inform the appropriate committees of Congress if the budget request submitted by the head of the relevant establishment would substantially inhibit the IG from performing the duties of the office. Requires the President to include in each annual budget a separate statement of the amount of appropriations requested by each IG.

(Sec. 4) Establishes within the executive branch the Inspectors General Council to coordinate and enhance governmental efforts to promote integrity and efficiency and to detect and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse in federal programs. Requires the Council to: (1) continually identify, review, and discuss areas of weakness and vulnerability in federal programs and operations with respect to fraud, waste, and abuse; (2) develop plans for coordinated, government-wide activities that address these problems and promote economy and efficiency in federal programs and operations;(3) develop policies and professional standards that will aid in the maintenance of a corps of well-trained and highly skilled Office of Inspector General personnel; (4) maintain electronic systems for the benefit of all IGs and one or more academies for the professional training of auditors, investigators, inspectors, evaluators, and other personnel; and (5) report to Congress.

Declares that the creation and operation of the Council shall not affect: (1) the Department of Justice's (DOJ) preeminent policy-setting role in law enforcement and litigation; (2) the authority or responsibilities of any government agency or entity; and (3) the authority or responsibilities of Council members.

Establishes an Integrity Committee for the Council to review and refer for investigation allegations that are made against IGs and certain staff of the IG Offices. Sets forth requirements concerning when an IG must refer allegations against its staff to the Committee. Requires investigations to be conducted in accordance with the most current Quality Standards for Investigations issued by the Council or its predecessors. Requires the Committee, in conjunction with the Council Chairperson, to establish additional policies and procedures necessary to ensure fairness and consistency in: (1) determining whether to initiate investigations; (2) conducting investigations; (3) reporting the results of investigations; and (4) providing people who are subjects of investigations with opportunities to respond to any Committee report.

Sets forth reporting requirements for the Committee and the Council. Requires the Council to provide detailed information about specific allegations upon request from the chairman or ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the congressional committees of jurisdiction.

Declares that Executive Order 12805, dated May 11, 1992, and Executive Order 12993, dated March 21, 1996, have no force or effect. Requires the IG to adopt policies and procedures to implement this Act that include, to the maximum extent practicable, all provisions in such orders.

(Sec. 5) Prohibits IGs from receiving cash awards or cash bonuses. Sets forth the basic pay for IGs.

(Sec. 6) Considers each Office of IG to be a separate federal agency.

Empowers IGs of certain designated federal entities with the same law enforcement authority provided to other IGs.

Requires an IG to be appointed without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of integrity and demonstrated ability in accounting, auditing, financial analysis, law, management analysis, public administration, or investigations.

Authorizes the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to provide physical security in protecting the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Requires the Comptroller General to report to Congress on agencies' cooperation in providing information to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

(Sec. 7) Includes certain designated federal entities within the definition of "authority" for purposes of federal provisions concerning administrative remedies for false claims and statements.

(Sec. 8) Provides for the application of semiannual reporting requirements concerning the activities of IG offices with respect to inspection and evaluation reports.

(Sec. 9) Requires agencies to establish and maintain on their website homepages direct links to the website of the Office of the Inspector General of that agency. Requires the IG of each agency to: (1) post reports and audits no later than one day after such reports or audits are made publicly available; (2) provide specified web services; and (3) establish and maintain a direct link on the Office of the Inspector General's website homepage for individuals to report waste, fraud, and abuse.

(Sec. 10) Repeals a requirement that the DOJ's IG refer to the Counsel, Office of Professional Responsibility of the Department, allegations of misconduct involving Department attorneys, investigators, or law enforcement personnel, where the allegations relate to the exercise of the authority of an attorney to investigate, litigate, or provide legal advice.

(Sec. 11) Makes it the principal duty and responsibility of each entity's IG to review annually the operations, efficiency, and effectiveness of federal programs within his or her entity and submit annually to Congress and the President recommendations, accompanied by proposed legislation, on whether an abolishment, reorganization, consolidation, or transfer of existing federal programs and agencies is necessary to: (1) reduce federal expenditures; (2) increase efficiency of government operations; (3) eliminate overlap and duplication in federal programs and offices; (4) abolish agencies or programs that no longer serve an important governmental purpose; and (5) identify reductions in amounts of discretionary budget authority or direct spending that can be dedicated to federal deficit reduction.

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