tv Project on Government Oversight Summit Discussion with Michael Horowitz CSPAN November 18, 2018 2:03pm-3:01pm EST
that mitch mcconnell is interested in that costs a couple of billion dollars, but we cannot do it with existing funds. that at 6:00e today on c-span. you can also hear it on c-span radio and watch online at c-span.org. the midterm election of 2018 changed the balance of power in congress with democrats taking control of the house and republicans holding the majority in the senate. members now prepare for the new congress in january. new congress, new leaders. watch the process unfold on c-span. justice department i.g. michael horowitz on the importance of the job. government on
hosted thissted -- conference. [applause] things to talk about here. [laughter] on., nothing going so the first thing a wanted to talk to you about was -- the press has been talking about predictions of increased oversight on the hell. since the ig act -- on , funding has shrunk. as a result, we are expecting to
see an uptick of request from congress to inspectors general. so my first question is, what advice do you have for members or staff on turning things over to an ig. what makes a good ig investigation? insp. general horowitz: that's a good question. we do get lots of requests and letters from members throughout congress and chairs of ranking committees. our standing point is ig's is that it is him what to be popular, but sometimes you are a little bit too popular. manyrms of the letters -- of the letters seek to have us resolve what are in essence, political fights or policy igsles, to try and have
figure out who is right and who is wrong. and that is clearly not our role. we are not management, not policymakers, not there to settle, resolve, evaluate political fights. that doesn't mean that the reviews that we do don't touch on significant policy matters and significant political issues. and that's fine. in fact, we often talk about what are the most significant policy issues that are being considered within the executive branch, on the hill, and the public discussion, as you consider the work we should be doing because of our limited resources. we do want to make sure our reports are impactful and apple helpful to policymakers. but when we do that kind of oversight, we are assessing how programs are or are not working, as a rose to deciding whether they are the right or grams or the wrong programs. danielle: so that's a a igs can help the congress. are there ways, we have a number of people here from congress, are there ways congress can help igs? insp. general horowitz: well, i
think one of the most significant ways that congress us is my having hearings on our reports, follow on our recommendations, the agencies that we oversee, to see how they have done in terms of implementing our recommendations. it's the same that occurs in our the, is as important with public's interest in the work we do. you want to get word out as to what we do. it is very important for us to have others also be aware of our work and be there to ask the hard questions of the agencies we oversee as to how they have done in terms of implementing our recommendations. just having us doing is important, it is part of arms possibility -- part of our responsibility. but having others do that as well, whether it is the public,
the press or congress, is very important. sunlight on these issues matters, and follow-up matters, and it is important for congress to do that. danielle: you are not shy about going to the congress for some igs are maybe less comfortable, sort of a affirmatively going up there. , sort of suggest congress reaching out to those , igs that are within their jurisdiction? insp. general horowitz: we have under the ig act reporting responsibly to our agencies and the congress. it is part of a statutory mandate. it is not something that i or others are making up in terms of going to speak to congress. it is important as part of our ig's was once a really to let responsibility, to let our oversight committees, in terms of the ig mandate generally or our individual committees like in my case judiciary, and our appropriators as well, for important to remember about the appropriate
ors that oversee our ages these. they put provisions in appropriations laws that made it clear what their expectations were for the agencies to s so you haveh ig' the speaking as the head of ig. you have been in the unusual position of having both the head and the president himself referring things to you. do you take all the cases, because you are an executive branch agency even though you are -- even though you report to congress? and how to figure out whether you will or will not sort follow those orders? insp. general horowitz: so we have at that. we had that actually previously when attorney general holder referred the fast and first -- the fast and furious matter to our office, which for those who follow was no, we did as
well, and it isn't something that regularly happens but it is something that he thinks are all -- t ag's need to have the kind of dialogue with their relationship , in the same way that we need to that dialogue with congress and your agencies. it is helpful to have, whether it is the attorney general or the deputy attorney general, or the component heads, letting you know where, if you did a review of one of your programs or their issues, it would be helpful to them, that is information that we want to take in, much like s frome get request congress in assessing what kind of work we're going to do. what has been i think beneficial, certainly in my ages, we've had a very strong attorneysip with the general and deputies attorney general throughout the 30 year history.
1988 --into being in and a very wors respectful relationship. neither attorney general holder nor attorney general sessions told us or instructed us what to do. they made the request that we look at that work. that's something we assess and obviously, much like requests that come in from congress, they say, this of be helpful to have the look at this program and give us your thoughts. that is important. again, keep in mind come i am not looking to get involved in a political or policy fight just because the attorney general asked me to do something as opposed to the chair of the judiciary committee. but having said that, our last review, the election review, we very much focused on what were the issues regarding the department's handling of its policies, procedures, practices,
and where can we as the ig office make recommendations that would help the department in future situations it might find itself in where this kinds of issues arose. we were looking to do something with the broader systemic issues. danielle: so that was really a hot one report, to remind people, this was about look into the fbi and doj's actions leading up to the 2016 election. and as you may remember there was almost sort of a hysteria leading up to the release of your report, on both sides of the aisle. it seems to me, because you are such a straight shooter and people sort of recognize that you were going to take things by the fact, that assumes you -- as soon as you released the report, the hysteria died down. it seemed that people understood the fact and things calmed down. what advice do you give to other ig's who are likely to be facing
in the next few years, as being a high-profile issue. how did you navigate that high-pressure and managed to survive with great success? insp. general horowitz: i think one of the things we trying to try to do, since so many issues in the justice department are so high-profile, obviously not many , but fast and furious was one of those. all of the teams in office that -- all of the teams in our office that do our vgas, you rules for different different reviews, you have to go forward consistent with the yellow book standards, if it is standardsgation, the for investigations, your own policies and procedures, and very much focus on what the facts are.
why does the evidence show? in that instance, we look through a million plus records, did over 100 interviews with individuals, and there is no substitute for making sure you facts in at least a greater detail as the next person who is looking at the next issue. the last thing we can afford to do in the ig's office is put a report and have people say, you miss this issue. you missed that issue. so when people said, how come you're not moving faster, how come you could not get this report done under -- and that casey was about 16 or 17 months or so from when we launched, in january or 2017 -- january of 2017, one of things i like to point out is we found some of the most significant evidence in that case, including some of the
text messages, but also the classified information that is in the classified appendix in the second year mark, in the , 14th, 15th month of the review. and only because we kept pushing to follow up on information we were getting along the way. these reviews are iterative. you start looking in one area, but obviously, as igs, we are going to follow the leads and follow the information where it goes. so it is hard to predict exactly how long a review is going to take, but you have to balance completeness and thoroughness with, of course, and less looking. that's one of the challenges frankly, with the team, is when you have done that. danielle: i appreciate you pointed out there was a classified appendix. as a consumer of your products, without a clearance, i very much appreciated that is how much you approach your classified work.
broadly, not all igs are doing that, and in fact, classified reports, we don't even of the names of them or that the this, because they are classified. insp. general horowitz: i'll speak to what we do. we very much want to make sure that not just congress because congress does get all of our work product, including classified work, but that the public knows that the igs office has done a review of the program , even if it is classified. about a year or so into my enure, we did a review of the fbi's handling of its authorities on fisa section 702, its authorities. ultimately, that it department determined that it was entirely classified. congress saw the report. the public did not get a report, even what we normally do which is an unclassified summary of the classified report. that is our normal practice, and in that instance, that was not even possible.
nevertheless, we did put out a statement about ahad completed the review and sent it to congress. because congress could get it. sometimes what we do, and this occurred in the boston marathon bombing, for example, we put out a classified report and a public summary, a lengthy public summary, but even some of those russians of the summary had been labeled as law enforcement sensitive by the department. it, and whatwith we did was we put out a report and in the public report, you will see a statement there about our objections. going back to your earlier question about congress and its role, congress can see classified version, they can see the unclassified version and they can make their own assessment as to what they think about the situation as well. danielle: so we talked about some of the stuff you've done in the past.
right now, the doj is again in the news, regarding the succession of the attorney general. have been hearing -- some are asking whether this is something that could be reviewed by the inspector general, whether somebody can be appointed -- would occur in this case -- to the ag rather than the succession. he is at an appropriate question for an ig to review? insp. general horowitz: i'll ask another ig that question. now -- [laughter] the danielle: i would not be doing my job if i do not ask you hard questions. insp. general horowitz: i think i will step back from the specific question, and just go back to what i mentioned earlier. we are not there to resolve legal issues -- with one exception, and it will turn again to our access site. the question was, what was in the ig act. as many of you know, in 2008, congress amended the ig act to
provide the ig with our own .eneral counsels at that time, we were in a disagreement about the word "all" in the ig act. danielle: which is ridiculous. insp. general horowitz: as i say, for those who followed it, the office of legal counsel or 62-page page opinion on that issue. as a lawyer, i felt like only a lawyer could write 62 pages of the with the meaning of the word "all" is. danielle: and be wrong. [laughing] insp. general horowitz: i didn't say that. danielle: i did. insp. general horowitz: we certainly disagreed with that. and fortunately, ultimately prevailed in going to congress and having them reaffirm our right to access to all records. but there are two things i will mention with regard to statute interpretations. i think as a general matter,
that is probably something that would fall within an ig's role to assess the law, the statute, what a statute means. congress passed the statute. congress is uniquely positioned for the constitutional issue, -- obviously, the courts are there to resolve a constitutional issue. thing that is unique about my office, we don't have authority over decisions by lawyers acting as lawyers. there's office of professional responsibility. by statute, my officemax jurisdiction over that. but if we are asked to assess the decision by lawyers in the department on what is a purely legal matter, that would go to the office of professional responsibility. danielle: that is a whole other reform we will have to work on in the new congress. insp. general horowitz: we've tried. danielle: well, we will keep trying on that one. the ig was also in the news
recently where there was a political person who was briefly going to take over and become the new acting ig over at interior. our colleagues had been comes learned about extensive vacancies of ig's. there has been a vacancy in that office for over nine years and acting she was the director, but d2 restrictions on act tearing, she's -- restrictions on being the acting director. now she is no longer allowed to be the acting. one of the things confined he , wet raises the question are worried about acting igs. question, if the somebody is not acting ig, how
protected are they? horowitz: in our department, we certainly take the view that acting igs or principal deputies who are serving in the capacity as leading the organization because the 210 days has run. should of all the protections that an ig has and not be renewed without that should not be removed without 30 days notice to congress, provided for in the act, and should have the ability to hire personnel themselves. this is consistent with the ig not aut obviously, it is legal question, it is an open legal question. fortunately, over the years, we have been working with the administrations, past and current. there has been a respect for that. an ability to allow the actsing or principal deputy, who is serving as acting, to continue in that function.
it is an issue, again that congress is there to conduct oversight on and to conduct hearings on. if there was ever an issue like that, i think the ball would then be in their court to sort through that. we have tremendously talented acting igs and deputies throughout the ig community. we are fortunate that that is now, ie, because we have think it is 14 or 15 -- i lost track of the numbers because we have him recent retirements coming -- vacancies among the 73 igs, so more and more we need talent at the deputy level who can fill in. and we have it. they have done great work. but it is a substantial challenge. because when i showed up in april of 2012 as the ig of just this, my deputy, cynthia schneider, had been a
serving as acting ig for 15 months and faced a number of challenges. it was right when the fast and furious issue started arising. so there was very we question about your authority and your authority being tested. it also happened to the reason that we go stwhru the appointment process whether. si appointed or agency appointed is to have that kind of position where an authority, where when we go to our agency heads or to congress, or speak publicly, we are speaking as the head of the agency. there is no doubt about that, little doubt about that. i think that is one of the biggest challenges that any acting i.g. facing. they don't know exactly how long that tenure is going to be .
-- it's the ve same with the agency heads. the congress oversight committee don't know how long they are going to be acting. it is a far more challenging position than the i.g.'s have to teal with, but fortunately there are tremendously talented people serving in those positions. >> your office currently has some open investigations into leaks to the media. do you belief there is a public interest balancing test regarding the public's right to know, and how do you and a half combate that? >> i think in everything i.g.'s do, there is always a balancing test that you need to keep in mind. our world is not a black and white world. there is a let of gray out there.
as you might guess, we get a number of referrals to investigate leaks. we get requests from defense lawyers whose clients have been harmed or impacted by a media leak. we get requests the department, components who have classified information or sensitive grand jury information or other kinds of information they believe un lawfully disclosed, and we get requests from congress as well. one of the things we need to consider in those instances are some of the issues that you have raised along with broader questions about the information, how likely it is hat someone did in fact engage in an unauthorized leak. it turns out, if you have look
the for example at our recent summary regarding the manchester bombing matter we were asked to look at. it turns out there were people who got that information. we quickly knew we were never going to figure out who might have disclosed that information inappropriately or even whether it was an inappropriate disclosure. someone might have gotten it without restriction on the information. it is something we look at. we are respectful of the public's right to know and the media's right to information. we understand that -- and i will speak now in reference to individuals in the justice department. individuals in the justice department who have sensitive national security information, other protected information who
disclosed that inappropriately can be harming not only national security, obviously critically important. ongoing criminal investigations and individuals. people under investigation have a right to, if they did something wrong, to be charged criminally with it. or if it is a civil matter, have a civil complaint filed against them. but not to have it be leaked because somebody perhaps doesn't like the fact that is a prosecutor isn't bringing a criminal case or isn't bringing a matter. people's reputations are on the line a lot of times in what the justice department is doing, as is national security. those are important issues, and we think about all of those issues as we decide what to do and which ones to look at. as we pointed out, i will go back to the election review we released in june of this year. you saw in there individuals telling us that some of the
decision-making that was done at the f.b.i. was done for some people, not everybody, some people, bationed on concerns that others might leak the information if the decision didn't go the way they wanted. that is not the way went want public policy to be made and certainly not the way we want criminal investigations to be had. that is a concern. we are bumping up against a topic that is important to me, whistle blowers. >> and important to me. you en you leak -- investigate leak informations, and they turn out to be retaliatory investigations. how do you make sure that is not what you are doing? historically there have been things where that has happened. it is a very important
question. it is something we keep in mind all the time as we think about our work and consider what might be an improper disclosure and making sure that agencies, as we look at insider threat issues, we are not showing whistle blowers who appropriately want to blow the whistle on wrongdoing. one of the things i think is important for whistleblowers and their interest in coming forward is making sure -- and this again is an i.g. responsibility, to help educate whistleblowers on the appropriate way to blow the whistle, particularly when it is classified information. there is a process to blow the whistle with classified information. we are out there trying to ducate whistleblowers on that.
the law doesn't allow you to call yourself a whistleblower and go out on a street corner and disclose classified information. even if you have the best of intentions in terms of thinking there really is wrongdoing going on. the law does provide a mechanism to provide that to an i.g. and now a mechanism to go to congress if you follow the process laid out in the statute. that is very important for us as i said to get that word out to the whistle blowing community. i speak at events involving whistleblowers. rob is going to be here this afternoon. he is now the n.s.a., i.g. he speaks regularly on that. we are trying to get that word out. we also make sure when we get leak referrals from our agencies and our components -- and this has happened on more than one occasion -- where the
disclosure may have been unauthorized due to internal policy or guidance but is not a violation of law. we actually have had occasion to write back to the leadership of the except citing the mcclain decision in part, which is a supreme court court case makes 5 or so that if information isn't protected by law, it is protected whistle blowing to go to the press. they -- and we wrote back and said in our view this is not a violation of law or department regulations and statutory violation. we have looked at the whistleblower laws, and it
appears to be protectled whistle blowing activity. we wouldn't handle it, and we would strongly advise you not to conduct an investigation because if you do, we would conduct a retaliation investigation on the matter. >> that is great. people should start thinking about questions because we are going to have two people running around with mics in a second. the was an op-ed that second general for afghanistan reconstruction wrote on the hill. he was challenging the i.g. community to think not just about inputs and outputs, but lso outcomes and challenging whether the community of i.g.'s are incentivized to focus on the most important issues. and the other thing he raised was should there be more cross-cutting subject matter
i.g.'s that are looking at issues across the entire government like cyber security or health care. what do you think about some of those ideas that our i.g.'s to be incentivized to be doing the most important things? >> those are both great issues and important issues for us in the community to think about. we talk about it all the time when we are doing our work. it's fine to think about the minutia and the important individual issues we are finding in our audits, reviews and investigations. but i am oftentimes speaking with our folks about stepping back. what is the biggest pick here we are seeing that may need systemic resomer or systemic changes? that is i think what we bring to the table -- what we bring to the table is not just finding misconduct when it occurs, not just finding problems in programs, but really our core function and our core mission by statute is
to help the department become a more effective and efficient operator of programs. to do that, you really have to understand the bigger picture and think more systemically and more broadly and make recommendations that are geared that way. we had a 40th anniversary event in july at the capital visitor's center and heard from veral different speakers making that same point. more and more the expectation and the desire on the part of policy makers from i.g.'s is to look at those bigger systemic issues and think more broadly. what are the outcomes showing? ? yes, we need to look at inputs. yes, we need to look at specific processes, but step back and think more broughtly and try to write our reports to the bigger picture question of the work. i think one of the challenges we have as i.g.'s in doing that, obviously, is there is always this question of well
what, is your return on investment? measuring our return on investment based on what our dollar findings are. as an agency, the department of justice, where i am often looking at justice issues, my r.o.i. is not that good compared to other executive branch agencies. there was zero value in the election review we did if you do purely dollars and sense, fast and furious. b.o.p., all the reviews for the federal bureau of prisons and their handling of female inmates, mental inmates. none of those have dollar findings. what we need to be thinking about thinking about and the oversight community needs to be thinking about is how do you measure success for i.g.'s beyond the one metric, which is an important bohn for many organizations, which is dollar
related findings. congress should be thinking about that as well. on the second question about cross cuttingism g.'s, you know, i think that what needs to happen, and hopefully people who are watching think we are doing more of this, that is really what it was created to do in 2018. -- in 2008. one of our missions, if you look at section 11 of the i.g. .ct is training but the other important mission statement there is looking at issues that cross cut our own individual agencies to broader questions like cyberrelied issues. that is something we are doing more of. earlier this year we issued our first ever top challenges report, taking all 60 i.g.'s that issued such reports,
consolidating them and writing a report about the seven biggest issues we saw. we are talking about and together more cyber related work. we did a review about devices and mobile devices, and how agencies addressed those issues. and so i think there is a mechanism in place. we as a community need to do more of that kind of work. >> when you were raising the question about r. offermanism's, as pogo, we had a report this year where we were raising questions about the con congressionally mandated requirement for semi-annual reports. there are 22 of them, and we think several of them are less meaningful. the way r. offerman i.'s are captured is money that could be saved, is not even necessarily saved. i am glad you are raising that
issue. it is something that congress -- we are looking forward to working with con grecks on fixing some of that to focus on some of the more important questions. >> before i forget, you .gov, ed oversight hopefully that everybody here knows about. it is one of the most significant advances in the communicate and will help foster that kind of cross cutting work. one of the things it allows me to do as anism g. is see what 73 i.g.'s are doing. i don't have to go to each web page to find out what they are doing. i now get see what other i.g.'s are doing and thinking about, and my teams are having that benefit from the web page as well. that is something that is very hopeful to us and hopefully helpful to policy makers whether in the executive branch
or congress, to the oversight community. we take ideas from all comers. it doesn't have to be the chair, or ranking member or a member of congress or the attorney general asking to us do something. we get requests from the public, from pogo and other oversight organizations. we want that input. >> ok. yes, let's. rebecca is going to come to you with a mic. >> hi. i am kevin, former i.g. at the architect of the capital. my question, i am looking at the title of the discussion, which is from watergate to today. the hallmark violation in watergate, or one of them, was the presidential misuse and abuse of federal agencies. are i.g.'s today equipped to
deal with that kind of either direction from the white house to the attorney general that you've got to look into a certain area, or a direction to the i.r.s., or direction to other agencies. can anism g. -- is an i.g. situated to look into that and perhaps challenge it? >> so we have particularly after the i.g. empowerment act, the tool of looking at all of the records in our agency. to be clear, and this came up in fast and furious where the obama white house did not allow us to look at white house records. we are not the i.g. over the executive office of the president. there is no i.g. for the executive office of the president, much like there is no i.g. for congress or the judiciary. so we can look at the records
.n our agency and follow up there have been several reviews that have gone on in the last several years of actions by agency leadership. they did a review of their secretary, who resigned shortly after. the i.g. did reviews of their agency leadership and actions, and we have done the same. i think we are equipped to do the work, reviewing our mandate under the statute. i think going back to the question of con congressional requests or other requests, i think it is very important for people to understand what are we authorized to do under the i.g. act and not auth rised to do? in my case, carve out actions by lawyers. and as individuals, as i.g.'s and the 14,000 or so staff
within the 73ism g.'s, the foundation for what we do is the i.g. act. we are going to look at that, understand what we are authorized to do and what we are not authorized to do and stay in those bounds. that is what -- we stand for the rule of law. we stand for those issues, and we are certainly not going to stray from what the i.g. act tells us we can or can't do. frankly, as you certainly know nd others in the oversight community follow know those i.g.'s have gotten themselves in trouble, either have failed to be independent as required by the i.g. act. or frankly gone rogue in some respect and become untethered from their responsibilities under the i.g. act. we are not free actors to go around and do what we think. we have a statute, something that grounds us. >> it sounds like your a little
bit like the answer to your question may be no. yes? > my name is kathleen clark. i am wondering if you could speculate about what it would take for us to get an inspector general for the executive office of the presidency? and also in that imaginary i.g.'s hat an jurisdiction could be in that setting? just as the justice department. g. has ciroc prescribed jurisdiction. you don't have authority over lawyers' conduct. can you spell out, again in this speculative world, a usefulism g. with some limited jurisdiction in the white house? >> i think i am not going to go there and speculate. again, i point out that there
isn't an i.g. for any of the three branches of government at the highest levels of those organizations. there is one, but not with the same authorities. there is one in the house, but not under the i.g. act. am talking about a statutoryly independent inspector general. none of those come with those authorities in the three branches at the highest levels. y of the legislation whether -- any of them would have to go through two houses of congress, be signed by the president. i will leave it to others who are more attuned politically to decide what the success potential is of any of that.
>> hi. sharron bradford with open technology institute. i was very interested in your comments toward the end of your remarks about the ability to look at return on investment. but you are looking at justice, so it is different than waste, fraud and abuse monday toe assessment. is there more of a role for your office and then also the i.g.'s that cover the intelligence agencies to look at the efficacy of surveillance programs. this came up with the section 215 telephone reference program. it was ineffective. the intelligence agencies have made the valid point that it is ard to say that any one case derived from one program or one source of intelligence. but it is pour to measure efficacy. do you think that the i.g.'s can play more of a role there? >> great question. it is something we are doing certainly regularly there my office.
when we are doing reviews, we are asking questions of managers and leaders of the components what are your easurements for success? beyond just outputs. at the justice department traditionally, the answer was well, we indicted 1,000 people, or we prosecuted and convicted this number of people. that is useful to know. it is an important figure to understand, but it is not the be all and end all of the discussion. what we have found, and we have reported on regularly is there really aren't many measures beyond output measures beyond the programs we have look the at. but it is a question we are asking. and in our security reports, many of which don't see the full light of day, but go to
congress, we seek to include that type of information. i think our 702 and our 215 reports that we have done on the f.b.i.'s use of those authorities, the national security letter authorities, what was the exigent letter report of 12, 13 or 14 years ago has had an impact and has been an important measure and has been, i think from our interactions with congress very useful as they thought about how to revise those programs. i think i.g.'s are well equipped to ask the questions. we are not going to put in place the metrics. that is for management to figure out how they are measuring success and what those measures are. but we are there to assess them and to i think at the core of our responsibilities, report out on whether those are the effective measurements. >> alex over here.
>> good morning. alex howard, independent for the moment. two questions. the first is thank you for oversight .gov, but i don't think all i.g.'s are participating in it quite yet. as you know, many reports still have been sought by advocates. have you seen morism g.'s post their reports and start being involved in that? if not, when and where is that going to change? you say you post data on it as well. but when you look at it, the reports themselves are p.d.f.'s and there are a bunch of fields. do you think you will be come applying with the 2013 executive order to make the data available? and the second to, what extent are you empowered to figure out whether officials are acting on a proactive basis or whether
they have properly recused themselves where they have a conflict of interest? >> on the first question about oversight .gov. when we launched it, we had 67 of the 73 i.g.'s participating. the only ones that weren't participating, were several in the intelligence community which didn't post any public reports. then a couple of the legislative branch i.g.'s which aren't covered in the same way under the i.g. act. and weren't participating in the one year since we launched, three of the intelligence community i.g.'s have for the first time issued semi-annual reports that were public, and they were posed to the website. so we have the national security agencies, the national defense agency and the national reconnaissance agency all start posting reports publicly. i think in part due to
versight .gov. we have 70 of 73ism g.'s on port. we are all thinking about ways to be more transparent and how can we make more information available to the public. on your second question about the underlying data, that is something we have talked about, and we have not only gotten the question from folks outside the i.g. community, but also people on the inside working on data and analytics on how to make that information more broadly available for use by those outside and inside the community. that is one of the enhancements that we would like to be able to do. one of the things that we are ping for was in the senate appropriations bill, one of the
handful of bills that has not yet been passed. there is money in that bill, $2 million, to fund several enhancements to oversight .gov to allow us to move forward on recommendations and other issues we would like to move forward on. for those of you who don't know, we basically built .ggov on those who were there. it was built on the postal i.g. with their help on the technology side and other i.g.'s on the working group side. we were able to move forward with it. it is a pretty -- from a tech standpoint, it is a pretty basic web page. for the i.g. community it was a huge step forward. it is still a pretty basic flat form which we recognize and would love to be able to do some of the things that you have mentioned, and some others
as well. in terms of the final question, we have the tools and the authorities under the i.g. act, and when requests come in that and thin our bailey wick we assess them as the kinds of reviews we should be doing because they relate to important issues that i.g.'s are well equipped to handle and do, i think we will consider them in the sort of bucket of information or requests we get. but in terms of legal authority, i don't think we have with thism g. act passed, challenging legal authority. several are dealing with budget issues and other kinds of issues. we would like to see testimonyial subpoena authority, but that did not happen last go-round. that is something that is important.
otherwise we are well equipped under the. . act to move -- under the i.g. act to move forward. >> i am with federal news network. not to put too fine a point on what the d.o.j./ism g. does or does not plan to do in the future. house democrats have sent a number of letters requesting your office to look into the future of the f.b.i. headquarters, looking at plans to keep it in d.c. as opposed to a virginia plan. in terms of the dollars and sense of which plan makes the most sense, is that something that falls into the purview of your office, or does it go back to the political battle, score-settling that you mentioned at the top? >> well, i will save my answer and responses to the con congressional letters for congress and speak with them
about their requests. but generally speaking, again the issues that relate to construction issues, and issues related to contracting, belook at for example the federal bureau of prisons, those issues come up there. partly it will depend on -- as well many requests we get, they are complex and raise multiple issues. and sometimes we sort through them. the election review was a good example. we got a lot of requests to do a lot of different things. we laid out what we were going to do and also explained what we weren't going to do. we would do the same with any kind of request like that. but certainly questions that come up about how the justice department is spending their money, or potentially spending money, and how they handled certain issues. construction related issues, for example, we deal with at the b. o.p.
>> last question, the gentleman in the back. sorry, i couldn't see you. >> hi. i am ann. so we are expecting an avalanche of oversight from congress beginning in january. how would you advise staff and members to most effectively use all of the means available to them to accomplish that goal with speed? because obviously having 10,000 investigations dragging on forever is not a good thing for anybody. that is to say how do you all work together with g.a.o., con congressional staff with their hearing and litigation ability, the i.g. community, and god knows there are probably others i am not naming. how is an offense effectively looking out at that and saying here is how i am going to deploy against the issues that are the most important, knowing
the i.g. guys are going to have their pick of whether they take it or not. g.g.a.o. i order around but they have a lot of stuff to do. >> great question. one of the things we make sure we do is we have quarterly meetings with g.a.o., the teams that oversee the department of justice to make sure we are coordinated and not duplicating effort. many of the issues we are asked to do they are asked to do. we have a very strong working relationship. on a broader scale, we meet meet regularly with gene and the leadership at g.a.o. to talk about the broader issues that cross cut the i.g. community, again to make sure we are coordinated and not stepping on each other's work and not duplicating each other's work.
in terms of con congressional oversight and asks, i guess i would finish where i started, which i think one of the things that can frustrate congress when they are dealing withism g.'s, like g.a.o., is we are not going to turn around and answer in a month. we are not going to give the answer in two months even. it is going to take months for us to get the records, go through them, interview people. we are going to issue a thorough report. we can't be seen as just responsibilitying to a political concern. we want to think about, as we talked about earlier, some of the bigger picture issues we are looking at, particularly if we see them as we are going into that review. so that can be a frustration for oversight committees that it around turn
immediately approach. it can be a frustration for agency's leaderships and component leadership. we are not in that mode of just turning things around quickly. i think for staff, it is important to think about what kind of product do we deliver and what kind of product would be useful for us to handle as to whether it is solely or as a follow up to a con congressional hearing. one of the things i have seen frequently, not all the time. i have now testified six and a half years probably approaching 0 times at hearings is in many instances, again not all, up. we have a good hearing based on our findings. other people at the panels who are policy makers, members talking policy, good give and take, bipartisan agreement, discussion about the important
issues. but off times i always wonder what happened next. on many occasions they are on -- everybody is on to the next issue, whether it is members of congress or the agency leadership. and that is something i hope that folks step back and think about. not just let's have a hearing and call it a day, but what did we learn at the hearing? what i have also learned on this job is at every single hearing the question i get from both sides -- doesn't really matter which administration it was that was in power, who is in charge. it is how do we fix the problem? what can we do legislatively to fix the problem? they are always talking and thinking. that the question, is there that follow through. >> please join me in