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Whistleblower Ombudsman

There are careers today where one individual can make a meaningful contribution, where one person's abilities and efforts can make Government responsive to the interests and concerns of the public. Such is a career with the Office of Inspector General (OIG), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Since its inception in 1962, USDA OIG has exemplified service and dedication to the public good, as it conducts audits and investigations of USDA programs to effect positive changes. USDA's budget is one of the largest in the Government, and the Department's nearly 100,000 employees run approximately 300 programs.

  • Conduct and supervise audits and investigations of USDA's approximately 300 programs

  • Recommend policies and actions to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness

  • Prevent and detect fraud, waste, and mismanagement

  • Inform the Secretary of Agriculture, the Congress, and management about problems, and progress toward solutions

  • Report criminal violations to the U.S. Department of Justice

  • Operate a Whistleblower Hotline

  • Comment on legislation and regulations

  • Maintain liaison and oversight for external audits and conduct joint investigations with other law enforcement agencies

  • Provide security for the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Agriculture

The Inspector General Act of 1978 and other legislation give us independence with our separate budget, personnel, purchasing, and legal authorities. However, we emphasize working together with management to strengthen operations through changes.

OIG both uncovers problems and stimulates improvements. We focus on high-impact areas such as fraud, employee integrity, or programs where significant dollar savings for USDA can be made. We particularly look at areas that are "vulnerable" because they are new or recently changed, or that have weak controls and thus may be ineffective in preventing problems.

Our auditors and investigators sometimes work closely together on "multidisciplinary teams." At USDA OIG, we emphasize the synergy that can be achieved by blending the audit and investigative functions.

We expend considerable effort in forestalling problems. Most notably, we review new legislation and work with the USDA managers responsible for its implementation.

Every state in the union, and many countries around the globe. Think about the vast interests of the United States in the global agricultural market: Imports, Exports, North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Far East.

The sun never sets on USDA.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (202) 720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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