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                                                       Calendar No. 409
115th Congress      }                         {               Report
 2d Session         }          SENATE         {                115-245
                                                                                   
======================================================================



 
       INSPECTOR GENERAL RECOMMENDATION TRANSPARENCY ACT OF 2018

                                _______
                                

                  May 10, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2178]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 2178) to require 
the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency 
to make open recommendations of Inspectors General publicly 
available, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute and an amendment to the title and recommends that 
the bill, as amended, do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................3
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................4
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................4
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................5
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the bill, as Reported............6

                         I. Purpose and Summary

    The purpose of S. 2178, the Inspector General 
Recommendation Transparency Act of 2018, is to provide 
transparency to Congress and to the public on recommendations 
made by agency inspectors general (IGs) that have yet to be 
addressed by the agency.

              II. Background and the Need for Legislation

    The Inspector General Act of 1978 (IG Act) established 
agency offices of inspectors general to be ``independent and 
objective'' entities to promote accountability and transparency 
and provide oversight of Federal agencies' operations.\1\ The 
IG Act authorized IGs to recommend policies to ``promote 
economy, efficiency, and effectiveness'' and ``to prevent and 
detect fraud and abuse in . . . [agencies'] programs and 
operations.``\2\ The Inspector General Reform Act of 2008 
created the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and 
Efficiency (CIGIE) to provide guidance to the IG community and 
to support more effective oversight of Federal agencies.\3\
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    \1\Inspector General Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-452, 92 Stat. 1101 
(as amended by Pub. L. No. 114-317 (Dec. 16, 2016)). See also 5 U.S.C 
App., Sec. 2.
    \2\Id.
    \3\5 U.S.C. App. Sec. 11(a) (Pub. L. No. 110-409).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Each agency IG is required by law to publicly issue 
semiannual reports, summarizing the audit and investigative 
activities conducted during the preceding six-month period.\4\ 
These summaries must include descriptions of abuses and 
deficiencies found in agency programs and operations, and 
related recommendations made by the IG to the agency to correct 
these issues.\5\ The semiannual reports must also include each 
IG recommendation described in previous semiannual reports for 
which the agency has not completed the corrective action, known 
as an open recommendation.\6\ An open recommendation is 
considered unresolved until the agency and IG agree on the 
steps necessary to address the issue, and the agency completes 
the corrective actions, with sufficient supporting evidence 
provided to the IG.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\5 U.S.C. App. Sec. 5(a) (Pub. L. No. 95-452).
    \5\Id. at Sec. 5(d).
    \6\Id.
    \7\Recommendation FAQs, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Dep't of 
Transp., https://www.oig.dot.gov/recommendation-faqs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In 2016, the majority staff for the Committee, with the 
majority staff for the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 
issued an oversight report highlighting agencies' inaction on 
open IG recommendations.\8\ The Committee found 15,222 open and 
unimplemented recommendations across the Federal Government.\9\ 
Those open recommendations represent over $87 billion in 
potential cost savings to taxpayers.\10\ For example, the 
Department of Housing and Urban Development IG reported over 
2,000 recommendations that the agency had not addressed, some 
of which were first recommended over 16 years ago.\11\ The 
Department of Defense IG reported that the agency could save 
$33 billion if it implemented all of its open IG 
recommendations.\12\ As of April, 2018, 23 Federal agencies 
have over 4,600 recommendations that have been open and 
unimplemented for at least one year, resulting in possible 
savings of over $39 billion.\13\ These open recommendations 
represent thousands of opportunities for Federal agencies to 
improve their operations in order to efficiently utilize 
taxpayer dollars for the public interest.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\S. Comm. on Homeland Sec. & Governmental Affairs and S. Comm. on 
the Judiciary, Empowering Inspectors General: Supporting the IG 
Community Could Save Billions For American Taxpayers, 114th Cong., 
available at https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/
IG%20Open%20Recs%20Staff%20Report_FINAL%20(2).pdf.
    \9\Id. at 2.
    \10\Id.
    \11\Id.
    \12\Id.
    \13\S. Comm. on Homeland Sec. & Governmental Affairs staff product 
compiled from publically available Inspector General Semiannual Reports 
of 23 Federal agencies.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To make IG reports more accessible to the public, CIGIE 
launched Oversight.gov on October 2, 2017.\14\ Oversight.gov is 
a public website that posts reports and data submitted by 
agency IGs in one place.\15\ However, users currently must 
access each individual IG report from Oversight.gov to identify 
open recommendations and there is not a simple way for Congress 
or the public to monitor the status of open recommendations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\Press Release, The Council of the Inspectors General on 
Integrity and Efficiency, CIGIE Launches Oversight.gov: IGs Found More 
Than $25 Billion in Potential Cost Savings in FY 2017, New Website 
Shows (Oct. 2, 2017), available at https://www.ignet.gov/sites/default/
files/files/
CIGIE%20Announces%20Official%20Launch%20of%20Oversight_gov_10_02_17_Fina
l.pdf.
    \15\The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and 
Efficiency, About Oversight.gov, Oversight.gov (2017), https://
www.oversight.gov/about.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    S. 2178 would require agency IGs to include more detailed 
information about open recommendations in their semiannual 
reports. This information includes the total number of open 
recommendations, a short description of each open 
recommendation, the date each recommendation was first 
submitted to the agency, and any cost savings that could be 
realized if corrective action was completed by the agency. 
These semiannual reports, along with all publicly-released IG 
reports, must be submitted by the IG to CIGIE within 30 days of 
issuance. CIGIE would then be required to include the 
information on IG open recommendations in a standardized, 
searchable format on its website. By increasing transparency, 
Congress and the public will be better equipped to hold 
agencies accountable and encourage them to implement 
recommendations, which could help the Federal Government save 
billions in taxpayer dollars.
    CIGIE Chair and Department of Justice Inspector General 
Michael Horowitz agreed with the aim of this legislation:

        we agree that greater transparency regarding the 
        thousands of open IG recommendations is important 
        because implementing these recommendations could 
        potentially save the federal government billions of 
        dollars. Moreover, we have found that transparency has 
        a positive impact on encouraging agencies to address 
        long-standing unimplemented recommendations, which 
        benefits taxpayers.\16\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \16\Recommendations and Reforms from the Inspectors General: 
Hearing Before the H. Comm. on Oversight & Gov't Reform, 115th Cong. 5 
(2017) (statement of Michael E. Horowitz, CIGIE Chair).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        III. Legislative History

    S. 2178 was introduced on November 30, 2017, by Senators 
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Joni Ernst (R-IA). The bill was 
referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs. The Committee considered S. 2178 at a business meeting 
on February 14, 2018.
    During the business meeting, Senator Heitkamp offered a 
substitute amendment requiring IGs to report information 
regarding open recommendations in semiannual reports, to modify 
the definition of ``open recommendation,'' and to require the 
CIGIE database to be publicly available and in a standardized, 
searchable format. Senator Heitkamp also offered a technical 
amendment to correct the name of CIGIE in the title of the 
bill. Senator Lankford offered an amendment to require the 
inclusion of information regarding any potential cost savings 
associated with open recommendations and to require IGs to 
submit public reports to CIGIE within 30 days after issuance.
    Both the amendments and the legislation as modified by the 
amendments were passed by voice vote en bloc with Senators 
Johnson, Portman, Paul, Lankford, Enzi, Hoeven, Daines, 
McCaskill, Heitkamp, Peters, Hassan, Harris, and Jones present.

        IV. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Bill, as Reported


Section 1. Short title

    This section establishes the short title of the bill as the 
``Inspector General Recommendation Transparency Act of 2018.''

Section 2. Inspector General open recommendations

    This section requires agency IGs to publicly report on open 
recommendations and for CIGIE to publish this information on a 
public database.
    Subsection (a) requires agency IGs to include in their 
semiannual reports mandated under section 5 of the Inspector 
General Act of 1978 information about the total number of 
corrective actions recommended by the IG but not completed by 
the agency. This information includes the IG report in which 
the open recommendation was issued, a short description of the 
open recommendation, the date on which the recommendation was 
submitted to the agency, and any potential cost savings from 
completing corrective action on the open recommendation. This 
subsection includes the definition of an open recommendation.
    This subsection also requires CIGIE to maintain a publicly 
available database on which information about open 
recommendations can be accessed in a standardized, searchable 
format.
    Agency IGs are required to submit to CIGIE all reports that 
it makes public within 30 days of issuance.
    Subsection (b) requires agency IGs to include information 
on open recommendations required in subsection (a) by the first 
semiannual report prepared one year after the date this bill is 
enacted.

                   V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the rules. The Committee agrees with the Congressional 
Budget Office's statement that the bill contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs 
on state, local, or tribal governments.

             VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimates
             
             
             

                                                    March 28, 2018.
Hon. Ron Johnson, Chairman, 
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 2178, the Inspector 
General Recommendation Transparency Act of 2018.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.





S. 2178--Inspector General Recommendation Transparency Act of 2018

    S. 2178 would amend federal law to require all federal 
inspectors general (IGs) to report on open recommendations 
(those that they have made that have not been implemented). 
After conducting audits, investigations, and inspections, IGs 
typically report their recommendations to their agencies. A 
recommendation is considered open if the IG determines that the 
agency has not implemented it. The bill also would require the 
Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency 
(CIGIE) to keep a database of open recommendations and make it 
available through a public website.
    The more than 70 federal IGs spend a total of about $2.5 
billion a year to detect and deter fraud, waste, and abuse. In 
fiscal year 2016, IGs produced over 5,000 audit, investigation, 
and evaluation reports. CBO is not aware of any comprehensive 
information on open federal recommendations. Information from 
CIGIE and some IGs indicates that some agencies track open 
recommendations, but CBO expects that some additional 
administrative work would be necessary to report on all open 
recommendations.
    Based on the type and scope of the necessary work, CBO 
estimates that that implementing the bill would require 15 
percent of the time of one employee and cost around $20,000 per 
agency each year. That spending would be subject to the 
availability of appropriated funds and would amount to $5 
million over the 2018-2022 period.
    Enacting S. 2178 could affect direct spending by agencies 
that are not funded through annual appropriations; therefore, 
pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates, however, that 
any net increase in spending by those agencies would be 
negligible. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 2178 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    S. 2178 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

       VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows: (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in brackets, new matter is 
printed in italic, and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

UNITED STATES CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE 5--GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION AND EMPLOYEES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


APPENDIX

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



INSPECTOR GENERAL ACT OF 1978

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 5. SEMIANNUAL REPORTS; TRANSMITTAL TO CONGRESS; AVAILABILITY TO 
                    PUBLIC; IMMEDIATE REPORT ON SERIOUS OR FLAGRANT 
                    PROBLEMS; DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION; DEFINITIONS.

    (a) * * *
          (1) * * *
          (2) the total number and a description of the 
        recommendations for corrective action made by the 
        Office during the reporting period with respect to 
        significant problems, abuses, or deficiencies 
        identified pursuant to paragraph (1);
          [(3) an identification of each significant 
        recommendation described in previous semiannual reports 
        on which corrective action has not been completed;]
          (3) the total number of open recommendations 
        described in previous semiannual reports on which 
        corrective action has not been completed, and an 
        identification of each open recommendation, which shall 
        include--
                  (A) the title of each report in which an open 
                recommendation was issued;
                  (B) the assigned number of each open 
                recommendation, as designated within a report 
                described in subparagraph (A);
                  (C) a short description of each open 
                recommendation;
                  (D) the date on which each open 
                recommendation was submitted in final form to 
                the head of the establishment;
                  (E) if available, any cost savings if the 
                corrective action with respect to the open 
                recommendation were completed; and
                  (F) any other information as determined 
                appropriate by the Inspector General that 
                clarifies the progress of implementing the open 
                recommendation or the expected timeframe for 
                implementation;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (f) * * *
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (6) * * *
                  (A) * * *
                  (B) in the event that the management of an 
                establishment concludes no action is necessary, 
                final action occurs when a management decision 
                has been made [and];
          (7) * * *
                  (A) * * *
                  (B) any commissioned officer in the Armed 
                Forces in pay grades 0-6 and above [.]; and
          (8) the term ``open recommendation'' means a 
        recommendation--
                  (A) issued by an Inspector General of an 
                establishment and made publicly available;
                  (B) on which corrective action has not been 
                completed by the establishment during the 1-
                year period following the date on which the 
                recommendation was issued; and
                  (C) that has not been otherwise closed by the 
                Office.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 11. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE COUNCIL OF THE INSPECTORS GENERAL ON 
                    INTEGRITY AND EFFICIENCY.

    (a) * * *
    (b) * * *
    (c) * * *
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (5) Establishment of database.--Not later than 18 
        months after the date on which the first semiannual 
        report is required to be prepared under section 5(a) 
        after the date of enactment of this paragraph, the 
        Council shall establish and operate a publicly 
        available database that--
                  (A) is accessible via the website of the 
                Council in a standardized, searchable format; 
                and
                  (B) includes--
                          (i) the information on open 
                        recommendations that is required to be 
                        included in each semiannual report 
                        under section 5(a)(3); and
                          (ii) any other information as 
                        determined necessary by the Council.
          (6) Submission of reports.--Beginning not later than 
        60 days after the date of enactment of this paragraph, 
        each Inspector General of an establishment or a 
        designated Federal entity (as defined in section 8G(a)) 
        shall, not later than 30 days after the date on which 
        the Inspector General issues a public report, submit to 
        the Council the report for publication on a centralized 
        website.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                                  [all]