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Other OIG Activities


The Office of Investigations investigates allegations of waste, fraud, abuse, gross mismanagement, employee and contractor misconduct, and criminal and civil violations of law that have an impact on the Institution's programs and operations. It refers matters to the U.S. Department of Justice whenever the OIG has reasonable grounds to believe there has been a violation of federal criminal law. The Office of Investigations also identifies fraud indicators and recommends measures to management to improve the Smithsonian's ability to protect itself against fraud and other wrongdoing.

Related documents:

OIG Hotline Poster

Understanding the Investigative Process

Summaries of Selected Closed Cases and Complaints

Code of Conduct, Contracting, Time and Attendance Violations

A senior manager violated the Smithsonian’s Standards of Conduct, Code of Ethics, and contracting policies pertaining to conflicts-of-interest issues due to his personal involvement in the acquisition of a sole-source contract. Additionally, he violated the Smithsonian’s Time and Attendance and Record-Keeping policy by recording duty hours that were not worked. The OIG reported these findings to management, and management declined to take action, citing the senior manager’s intended retirement.

Failure to Follow Professional Standards

An employee violated the Smithsonian’s Standards of Conduct by not following generally accepted professional standards when he did not disclose, on three occasions, the source of funds for his research. In five other instances, the OIG was not able to definitively determine whether he should have made financial disclosures. As a result of the OIG’s investigation, management issued a letter of counseling to the employee.

Unemployment Benefits Fraud

An employee fraudulently received $4,100 in unemployment benefits by not reporting her Smithsonian employment and wages. During the course of the investigation, the employee was arrested and pled guilty to an unrelated criminal felony violation. Based on the employee’s criminal conviction, management terminated her employment.

Misuse of Smithsonian Property

Two employees used Smithsonian computers to access pornographic websites. As a result of the OIG’s investigation, management terminated their employment.

False Information and Theft

An employee attempted to steal Smithsonian cleaning supplies. Furthermore, during the investigation, the OIG discovered that the employee had provided materially false information regarding criminal history in his federal employment application questionnaire. Management allowed the employee to retire in lieu of a proposed termination.


After Smithsonian employees as part of their official duties received a lost wallet, the money contained in the wallet was stolen. Two Smithsonian employees were found to have violated the Smithsonian Lost and Found policies by not properly securing and inventorying the wallet. The OIG could not definitively determine which employee was responsible for the theft. As a result of the OIG’s investigation, management issued a letter of reprimand to the supervisory employee responsible for properly securing the wallet.


An employee used his Smithsonian-issued firearm in a threatening manner toward a Smithsonian contractor employee. As a result of the OIG’s investigation, management suspended the employee without pay for 14 days.

Legislative and Regulatory Review

The Inspector General Act mandates that our office monitor and review legislative and regulatory proposals for their impact on the Smithsonian's programs and operations and with an eye toward promoting economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and preventing fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.


Presentations on fraud awareness throughout the Smithsonian are a cornerstone of our efforts to prevent and detect waste, fraud, and abuse and promote economy, efficiency and effectiveness at the Smithsonian.

OIG Special Agents also make these presentations at bi-weekly new employee orientations held by the Institution's Office of Human Resources.

Involvement with Other Organizations

The OIG is actively involved with the Washington Metro Electronic Crimes Task Force, the Metropolitan Area Fraud Task Force, the Security Association of Financial Institutions workgroup, and the Interagency Fraud Risk Data Mining Group.

Recovery Act Oversight

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) of 2009 provided the Smithsonian Institution $25 million for Facilities Capital Improvements for the repair and revitalization of existing facilities. The Office of the Inspector General was responsible for oversight over the use of these funds.

Learn more

Peer Review

Government Auditing Standards require audit organizations to undergo external peer reviews by independent reviewers every three years. In our most recent peer review, the OIG for Amtrak concluded that our quality control system was designed to meet government auditing standards and complied with those standards for the year ended March 31, 2017.

Download the September 2017 peer review report

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