King Louis XIV of France did more than usher in a golden age of art and literature and preside over a dazzling royal court at Versailles in the 17th century. He also introduced the world to the inspector general concept, appointing agents to review his military and report back what they found.

Other European countries followed suit and kept the practice alive, and in the 1770s, George Washington adopted it in the New World. The inspector general concept, refined over the years, has been a part of our country’s make-up ever since. Congress formally structured the inspector general concept in the 1970s, and President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Inspector General (IG) Act of 1978.

There are now 73 inspectors general with the mission of detecting and preventing fraud and misconduct in their agency’s program, as well as examining the efficiency and effectiveness of agency operations. They do this by conducting independent audits, investigations, and inspections.

The IG Act has been modified many times to give IGs better tools to carry out their mission. Now, inspectors general have even more tools in the toolbox with the December enactment of the IG Empowerment Act of 2016, H.R. 6450.

The IG Empowerment Act includes two very important provisions that will bolster IGs’ efforts, as well as protect whistleblowers who share information with IGs:

  1. The law confirms that federal IGs are entitled to full and prompt access to agency records, ensuring effective and independent audits, reviews, and investigations.
  1. IGs are exempt from the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988. This means they can match data across agencies, which should help them uncover wasteful spending while boosting public access to information on potential government misconduct.

Other provisions include new reports or information that IGs will have to produce, including additional facts and figures in the required Semiannual Report to Congress, and specific deadlines for posting reports on websites. The new law is also expected to increase government transparency and boost the public’s confidence in the independence of IGs. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Inspector General community, please visit https://www.ignet.gov/

Comments (9)

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  • anon

    How do I file a complaint about the unauthorized opening of my mail?

    Jan 11, 2017
  • anon

    Thanks for your message. The best thing to do would be to file an online complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form by clicking the "Contact Us" tab on the top of this page and selecting "Hotline." This will allow us to look into the matter for you.

    Jan 11, 2017
  • anon

    This article is great! This agency and the post office should receive awards they are outstanding and excellent.God bless you.Peace be with you.

    Jan 10, 2017
  • anon

    I have to say your web sites are useless. your phone customer service and e mail, useless Called and waited 55 minutes only to be disconnected, know someone picked up heard background noise then the call was terminated. Tried email,, can not use it for international packages,, won't accept zip code and only wants US states. I mailed a package on December 15th,, it arrived in Chicago on the 22nd. and has not shown any change since then. I can understand why the USPS is going out of business.

    Jan 10, 2017
  • anon

    For international inquiries try calling 1-800-222-1811 or go to usps.com, Help/File Claim/International. Please keep in mind that not all shipments qualify for an international inquiry. First Class Package International is not eligible for inquiries (for most countries) and in most cases only provides limited tracking. If your tracking number starts with an "L", tracking will only display until the point of the package leaving the U.S. If the last scan for your package displays 60666 - that is the international air mail facility hub in Chicago and the end of the tracking. If you want full tracking try the following classes of mail: Global Express Guaranteed (GXG), Priority Mail Express International, Priority Mail International and Registered Mail. Not only these services offer tacking to the point of delivery, but also qualify for an inquiry and offer some free indemnity in case of loss, damage etc. I would highly suggest for your future mailings to use one of these services. Although the First Class Package Service is the most economical way to ship, please keep in mind that it does not offer all the benefits mentioned.

    Jan 20, 2017
  • anon

    I want a refund for my missing packages

    Jan 09, 2017
  • anon

    For domestic shipments missing more than 30 days, go to Help / File A Claim / Domestic shipments at usps.com. If it has been less than 30 days, call 1-800-ASK-USPS to initiate a case.

    Jan 20, 2017
  • anon

    My Friend send to me i-phone 7 plus Gold color 32G fron Nov 23 2016 to Singapore,Until now Singapore Post office never receipt and i show sender(my friend) receipt also ,Now 2 month ready still no further any information to me and i asked USA & SINGAPORE post office but no new, That why i want to be claim my (i-phone 7 plus) original value Thank Zaw Win Hlaing

    Jan 18, 2017
  • anon

    Have your friend call 1-800-222-1811 and see if he qualifies for an international inquiry. Please keep in mind that only the U.S. sender can open an inquiry. If the package cannot be found once the investigation is complete, then your friend may qualify for a claim.

    Jan 20, 2017

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