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09/18/2017

Governor and General Assembly Statutorily Establish the Office of Inspector General

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September. 18, 2017

Harrisburg, PA - State Inspector General Bruce Beemer announced that Act 29-2017, which was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on July 20, 2017, goes into effect today creating the statutory Office of State Inspector General (OIG). Act 29 codified Senate Bill 527, proposed by Senator Ryan Aument, which was passed with significant bi-partisan support in the General Assembly.

The OIG was originally created by Executive Order 1987-7 on April 6, 1987, to perform investigations and keep the governor and heads of executive agencies fully informed about the problems and deficiencies relating to the administration of agency programs, operations, and contracting. In 1994, the OIG also assumed the responsibility for investigating welfare fraud and conducting collection activities for public benefits programs administered by the Department of Human Services.

In creating a statutory OIG, Act 29 enumerates additional powers to assist the OIG in its mission to ensure integrity, accountability, and public confidence in Pennsylvania government by investigating fraud, waste, abuse, misuse and misconduct in executive agencies, state contractors, and public benefit programs. These enhanced powers include the ability to issue subpoenas or search warrants; work in a more cooperative way with existing federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies; and access criminal justice databases. Act 29 also provides the OIG with original jurisdiction over criminal statutes relating to public benefit fraud.

“This is an historic day at the OIG. This transition to a law enforcement agency will give our investigators more tools and greater flexibility to handle the complex cases that come before us and will enable us to work in concert with other law enforcement agencies to a greater degree,” Beemer said. “Our staff has undergone extensive training in the last 60 days to prepare for this transition, and the necessary training will continue. We remain committed to conducting professional investigations relating to fraud, waste and abuse. I wish to thank Governor Tom Wolf, Senator Aument, and the members of the General Assembly for their efforts to greatly improve the operations of the OIG.”

The OIG investigates fraud, waste, misconduct and abuse in executive agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction and investigates and prosecutes welfare fraud.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ellen Lyon, 717-783-7756

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