Federal Election Commission

Office of Inspector General -- Semiannual Report

Period ending March 31, 2002

If you require the entire printed version of this report, contact the Office of Inspector General, Federal Election Commission, 1050 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20463 or call Dorothy Maddox-Holland, Special Assistant, phone: (202) 694-1015, fax: (202) 501-8134, or e-mail: oig@fec.gov.

Executive Summary

        I am pleased to submit this semiannual report to Congress covering the period October 1, 2001 through March 31, 2002.  This report reflects our efforts to remain in accordance with the requirements of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, and summarizes the major activities and accomplishments of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Office of Inspector General (OIG).  The Executive Summary provides a brief synopsis of accomplishments and general activities as it relates to the Office of Inspector General.  Our accomplishments were made possible by the dedicated efforts of a committed and professional staff.

        During this reporting period the Office of Inspector General completed and released one special project report, one inspection report, and a follow-up report on a previously released inspection.   An inspection report and one limited scope review was initiated.

        The first report released by the Office of Inspector General was a special project report entitled FEC Retirement (OIG-01-09 - December, 2001). The purpose of conducting this special project was to provide an analysis of the Commission’s projected employee retirements over the next ten years.

        To obtain statistical data regarding the special project, the OIG reviewed retirement statistics from the Office of Personnel Management and the FEC’s Personnel Office and Data Systems Development Division (DSDD).  The data reviewed included current, five, seven, and ten year retirement eligibility for FEC staff.   The OIG also obtained from OPM retirement projection figures which represent the expected future retirements for the FEC staff based on statistical calculations using prior FEC retirement trends and age profile of the FEC staff.

        The OIG concluded that the risk associated with losing substantial numbers of employees to retirement is considerably less for the FEC than it is for the Federal government as a whole.  However, the OIG found the potential loss of a large number of office heads over the next several years to be noteworthy.  As of September 2001, 21% of the 24 office heads were eligible for regular retirement.  At the end of calendar year 2006, 46% will be eligible for retirement; 67% by the end of calendar year 2008. Additional information regarding this project is located on page 11, the section entitled Special Projects.

        The second report completed and released during this reporting period, Inspection of the Commission’s Occupant Emergency Plan (OEP) (OIG-01-10 - February, 2002), was performed to assess the Commission’s emergency preparedness plan and program.  An OEP is a facility’s short term response program for safeguarding lives and property during emergencies.  Federal agency’s that occupy space in federally-owned or GSA-leased facilities are required by Federal Property Management Regulations to establish and maintain an OEP.

        The primary objectives of the inspection were to: 1) evaluate the Commission’s OEP to determine whether the plan adequately meets all GSA requirements; 2) determine whether the Commission’s OEP addresses the special needs of the physically challenged; and 3) determine whether the Commission’s OEP is effectively communicated to staff.  The OIG offered five suggestions to improve the Commission’s OEP and believes that management’s planned and completed actions will provide Commission employees the essential information needed to successfully evacuate the building during emergency situations.  To obtain more information, see the section entitled Inspection Reports, located on page 15.

        Follow-up work on the inspection entitled, Inspection of the Commission’s Westlaw Database Service (OIG-01-05 - July, 2001), was conducted during this reporting period. The Westlaw service provides FEC staff with on-line access to legal and business databases.  The primary reasons for conducting the initial inspection were to: 1) ensure that the Westlaw accounts of separated staff are properly canceled; and 2) review improper Westlaw financial payments to determine the cause and evaluate the payment process.

        The purpose of conducting the follow-up was to determine whether corrective action had been taken to address the one recommendation contained in the original inspection report.  The OIG concluded that management has taken steps to implement a process to monitor the receipt of goods and services to lessen the likelihood of duplicate payments to vendors.  The single recommendation contained in the inspection report was closed. For more information on the follow-up work conducted, see the Inspection Follow-up section on page 20.

        The OIG also initiated an inspection of the Federal Election Commission’s subscription / publication services (Inspection of the Commission’s Subscription / Publication Services - OIG-02-01) during this semiannual period.  The purpose of conducting the inspection is to: 1) assess the adequacy of the level of funds expended for various publications; and 2) determine whether the current publication budget and expenditures accurately reflects the usage of these publications and whether or not these publications meet the needs of the Commission.   Additional information regarding this inspection can be found on page 18, the Inspection Reports section.

        Prior to the end of this reporting period, a review of the Commission’s security cameras and building security was initiated (Limited Scope Building Security Review - OIG-02-02).  The purpose of the review is to assess the effectiveness of the building security cameras and address the building security issues that arose concerning the theft of a laptop computer.  Meetings have been held to discuss the issues surrounding the Commission’s security camera recording system and the cameras were also reviewed to assess the quality of images provided by the cameras.  Specific information regarding the limited scope review is located in the section entitled Special Projects, which is located on page 14.

        The OIG provided assistance to the Federal Protective Service (FPS) in conducting an investigation involving the theft of Government property.  An FEC laptop computer and carrying case was stolen from one of the divisions.  The FEC reported the value of the laptop to be $3,000.  For further details, refer to the section entitled Investigations, found on page 23.

        Listed below are highlights of additional activities conducted by the Office of Inspector General during this reporting period.  Items are described in greater detail, starting on page 25, the section entitled Additional Office of Inspector General Activity.

Several steps were taken by the OIG to address the concerns contained in the request.  The OIG prepared and submitted the response to Senator Grassley on October 16, 2002.  For detailed information pertaining to the FEC OIG reply to this request, see page 25.