Posted: 12:44 am PT
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S.1635 Department of State Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act, Fiscal Year 2016 passed the Senate by unanimous consent on April 28, 2016. (See Whoa! Senate Passes @StateDept Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act, FY2016). The House needs to pass it as well, and we haven’t been able to find the House bill. However, on April 29, the Senate did send a message to the House requesting its concurrence to the FY16 authorization bill. The bill is currently held at the desk for floor action; it doesn’t look like the House will be back in session until May 10.
Read the bill via congressional record in PDF or as TEXT here. Below is the section on protecting the integrity of internal investigations and reporting requirements from State Department bureaus, posts and offices to the Office of Inspector General. Note the provisions on investigations as they relate to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security:
SEC. 604. PROTECTING THE INTEGRITY OF INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS.
Section 209(c)(5) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 3929(c)(5)) is amended by inserting at the end the following new subparagraph:
“(C) Required reporting of allegations and investigations and inspector general authority.–
“(i) In general.–Each bureau, post or other office (in this subparagraph, an `entity’) of the Department of State shall, within five business days, report to the Inspector General any allegations of–
“(I) waste, fraud, or abuse in a Department program or operation;
“(II) criminal or serious misconduct on the part of a Department employee at the FS-1, GS-15, GM-15 level or higher;
“(III) criminal misconduct on the part of any Department employee; and
“(IV) serious, noncriminal misconduct on the part of any individual who is authorized to carry a weapon, make arrests, or conduct searches, such as conduct that, if proved, would constitute perjury or material dishonesty, warrant suspension as discipline for a first offense, or result in loss of law enforcement authority.
“(ii) Inspector general authority.–The Inspector General may, pursuant to existing authority, investigate matters covered by clause (i).
“(iii) Limitation on investigations outside of office of inspector general.–No entity in the Department of State with concurrent jurisdiction over matters covered by clause (i), including the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, may initiate an investigation of such matter unless it has first reported the allegations to the Inspector General as required by clause (i), except as provided in clause (v) and (vi).
“(iv) Cooperation.–If an entity in the Department of State initiates an investigation of a matter covered in clause (i) the entity must, except as provided in clause (v), fully cooperate with the Inspector General, including–
“(I) by providing to the Inspector General all data and records obtained in connection with its investigation upon request of the Inspector General;
“(II) by coordinating, at the request of the Inspector General, such entity’s investigation with the Inspector General; and
“(III) by providing to the Inspector General requested support in aid of the Inspector General’s oversight and investigative responsibilities.
“(v) Exceptions.–The Inspector General may prescribe general rules under which any requirement of clause (iii) or clause (iv) may be dispensed with.
“(vi) Exigent circumstances.–Compliance with clauses (i), (iii), and (iv) of this subparagraph may be dispensed with by an entity of the Department of State if complying with them in an exigent circumstance would pose an imminent threat to human life, health or safety, or result in the irretrievable loss or destruction of critical evidence or witness testimony, in which case a report of the allegation shall be made not later than 48 hours after an entity begins an investigation under the authority of this clause and cooperation required under clause (iv) shall commence not later than 48 hours after the relevant exigent circumstance has ended.
“(vii) Rule of construction.–Nothing in this subparagraph may be interpreted to affect any duty or authority of the Inspector General under any provision of law, including the Inspector General’s duties or authorities under the Inspector General Act.”.
The bill’s other provisions related to the OIG and SIGAR are below:
Sec. 602. Competitive hiring status for former employees of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
Sec. 603. Assurance of independence of IT systems.
Sec. 604. Protecting the integrity of internal investigations.
Sec. 605. Report on Inspector General inspection and auditing of Foreign Service posts and bureaus and operating units Department of State.