Interior Dept. Inspector General Closed 457 Investigations Last Year, but Released only 3 to the Public

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Mary Kendall (photo: Dept. of Interior)

The inspector general (IG) for the Department of the Interior is big on investigations, but not on telling the public what was found.


The IG’s office concluded 457 investigations in 2013, according to Greenwire. However, only three reports were made available to the public.


“The rest largely stayed hidden from public view, with even a redacted list of closed investigations accessible only through the Freedom of Information Act,” Greenwire’s Emily Yehle and Kevin Bogardus reported. “Among them were cases exposing nepotism, contracting violations and allegations that BP America underpaid its gas royalties by millions of dollars.”


Of the 457 closed cases listed (pdf), 261 were redacted, and those reports would be difficult or impossible to retrieve through Freedom of Information Act requests, according to Yehle and Bogardus.


Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall, who has held that temporary post since 2009, told Greenwire that the lack of disclosure stemmed from a policy requiring the agency to receive three separate Freedom of Information Act requests before releasing a report—an unrealistically high standard.


“The lack of transparency about mismanagement and wrongdoing at the Department of the Interior is troubling,” U.S. Representative Doc Hastings (R-Washington) told Greenwire in an email. He claimed that Kendall’s office has a “record of withholding information from Congress even in the face of a subpoena,” and he urged that a permanent IG be named.


Kendall is now developing new rules that she said would increase the likelihood of more reports becoming public in the future.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman


To Learn More:

IG Investigates a lot, Shares Little with Public (by Emily Yehle and Kevin Bogardus, Greenwire)

Closed Cases Report (Department of the Interior, Inspector General) (pdf)

Homeland Security Dept. Finally Gets an Inspector General after a 3-Year Vacancy…9 More IG Positions Still Unfilled (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)


Nicko Thime 9 years ago
"lack of disclosure stemmed from a policy" This is bureacratic-speak for go screw yourself as POLICY can be changed in a heartbeat.

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