About the Office of Investigations
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 Smithsonian's programs and operations. The Office of Investigations refers matters to the U.S. Department of Justice whenever 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.
- OIG Hotline Poster English Spanish
- Understanding the Investigative Process
- Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse to OIG Hotline
OIG Hotline receives complaints of fraud, waste, and abuse in Smithsonian programs and operations. These complaints may concern violations of law, rules, or regulations; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; abuse of authority; or substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety.
More fraud is uncovered by tips than any other means, making you a critical part of detecting fraud or other wrongdoing at the Smithsonian. When providing information to us, we encourage you to be as specific as possible. Please provide all relevant names, dates and times, locations, how you became aware of the issue, names of others involved with the issue, and as many details and facts that would aid our understanding of the problem.
If you visit our OIG Hotline Form at https://oighotline.si.edu/eCasePortal, you will be prompted through a series of questions about your concern. You can choose to tell us how we can contact you. If you decide not to provide your name or contact information, we will not be able to contact you with any follow-up questions, which may hinder a thorough investigation. You can also email the hotline about your concern at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OIG Hotline receives complaints of fraud, waste, or abuse in Smithsonian programs and operations. These complaints may concern violations of law, rules, or regulations; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; abuse of authority; or substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety.
Please be as specific as possible. Provide relevant names, dates and times, locations, how you became aware of the issue, the names of others affected by the issue, and other facts that would aid our understanding of the problem.
Examples of What to Report
- abuse or gross misuse of Smithsonian property or resources
- contract fraud or irregularities
- Smithsonian employees being directed to perform tasks or errands not connected to official business or solely of a personal nature
- embezzlement or theft of Smithsonian funds
- falsification of, or misrepresentation on, official documents
- fraud involving travel vouchers or requests for reimbursement
- gross neglect of duty
- violations of Smithsonian procurement, standards of conduct, or other policies
Examples of What Not to Report
- Minor incidents — such as minor time and attendance abuse or misuse of government property — should be reported to the appropriate Smithsonian managers.
- For discrimination complaints, filing a complaint with the OIG does not satisfy the required procedures under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For more information about discrimination complaints, visit the website for the Office of Equal Employment and Supplier Diversity (formerly the Office of Equal Employment and Minority Affairs).
- Other personnel matters not involving violation of laws, regulation, or policy should be handled through the appropriate grievance process.
- For other questions and concerns about the Smithsonian but not involving fraud, waste, or abuse in Smithsonian programs and operations, go to the Smithsonian's contact webpage.
OIG respects the desire of employees and others for confidentiality when they provide complaints or information and discloses identities only when the Inspector General determines that disclosure is unavoidable.
Complaints Made by Smithsonian Employees
After receiving a complaint or information from a Smithsonian employee, OIG shall not disclose the identity of the employee without the consent of the employee unless the Inspector General determines that such disclosure is unavoidable during an investigation, per section 7(b) of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended. Given this statutory provision, employees have this protection even if they do not specifically request it.
Complaints Made by Other Individuals
Individuals who are not Smithsonian employees do not have an automatic right to confidentiality under section 7(b) of the Inspector General Act of 1978. Nonetheless, OIG policy is not to reveal the identity of other individuals unless the Inspector General determines that it is unavoidable.
If you do not wish to disclose your identity, you may remain anonymous when contacting OIG. However, please keep in mind that anonymity may impede a quick or thorough investigation or the success of a later prosecution.
What is Fraud?
Fraud is a false representation of a material fact. It is an intentional deception designed to deprive the Smithsonian of something of value unlawfully or to secure an individual benefit, privilege, allowance, or consideration to which they are not entitled.
Examples of Fraud
- submitting falsified travel vouchers to inflate the amounts reimbursed for official travel
- concealing the theft of Smithsonian funds
- giving preferential treatment to a contractor who is a relative and not having disclosed the relationship
What is Waste?
Waste is the extravagant, careless, or needless expenditure of Smithsonian funds, including unnecessary consumption of Smithsonian property that results from deficient practices, systems, controls, or decisions.
What is Abuse?
Abuse is the excessive or improper use of Smithsonian resources.
After Your Report is Submitted
Once received, your report goes through an initial screening process to determine whether an investigation or other action is warranted. If you provide your contact information, we may contact you for additional details as needed.
If the matter you reported is appropriate for another federal entity or Smithsonian unit to investigate, we will forward it to the appropriate office. If we conduct an investigation, the following outcomes may result:
- If the investigation substantiates a violation of federal, state, or local criminal law, we refer the matter for prosecution.
- If the investigation substantiates an administrative violation, we provide the results to the appropriate Smithsonian unit to consider disciplinary or other action.
- If the investigation identifies a control weakness or other cause that allowed the improper conduct to occur, we alert Smithsonian management of this information.
Unless required by law, OIG does not disclose the outcome of an investigation.
The Inspector General Act prohibits reprisal against an employee for making a complaint or disclosing information in good faith to OIG. Reprisal includes, but is not limited to, adverse job actions such as termination; denial of any bonus, benefit, or training; reduction of salary or decrease in hours; or change in or transfer to a lesser position.