The Washington Examiner received the following letter to the editor in response to a March 7 article titled "Treasury investigators needed someone investigating them."
I am disappointed that the March 7, 2014, Washington Examiner article titled “Treasury investigators needed someone investigating them,” failed to reflect that the current management and criminal investigators in the Treasury Office of Inspector General had nothing to do with the previous misconduct reported. As the misconduct cited occurred over 6 years ago, the author could have pointed out that the past misconduct by a few is not indicative of the current OIG investigative staff. To the contrary, the article leaves open to the readers' speculation: Does this type of conduct still exist? Is it condoned by senior OIG officials? Are the personnel referred to in the article still employed by the OIG? The answer to all three of these legitimate speculations is, “NO.”
The current Treasury Inspector General, Eric M. Thorson, took office in August 2008. Mr. Thorson was appointed to his position in large part due to the dysfunction that existed in the OIG at that time. In short, he was tasked with addressing the many serious issues facing the OIG’s investigative office, to include senior investigative management officials who were themselves under investigation for various instances of serious misconduct.
Beginning in August 2008 and continuing through 2009, under the leadership of Mr. Thorson the allegations of misconduct were addressed and resolved — those responsible were held accountable and an entirely new management team was put in place. The OIG’s investigative mission and mandate have since been expanded, resulting in hundreds of significant investigations bringing to justice those persons who commit fraud against the Treasury Department’s programs and operations. Moreover, the morale of the investigative staff has never been better, and for the past 4 years our attrition rate in the investigations’ office has been near zero. In 2009, an entirely new, federal-government-developed and low-cost case tracking system was adopted, a system that is so effective that it has entirely replaced paper case files.
The OIG’s investigative office that now exists is one of impassioned, professional criminal investigators who are enthusiastic about their mission and the positive impact this office has on the Treasury Department. Given that the OIG’s reputation is outstanding within the Treasury Department and in the Inspector General and Federal law enforcement communities, it is regrettable that the article ended without an epilogue or update informing the reader that the problems in the OIG’s Office of Investigations were aggressively addressed, and ended almost 6 years ago.
John L. Phillips
Assistant inspector general for investigations
Treasury Office of Inspector General