The Office of General Counsel (OGC) provides legal advice to the Inspector General, senior staff, and others in OIG on the full range of activities within OIG, including inspections, investigations, and audits. OGC is responsible for managing OIG's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act programs. The Counsel to the Inspector General reports to the Inspector General and is independent from the Department of State (Department) Legal Adviser and the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) General Counsel.
OGC's primary functions include the following:
Legal Advice Concerning OIG Activities
OGC provides legal advice to OIG personnel during the planning and performance of their duties, such as identifying and analyzing legal issues that bear on audit and inspection findings and recommendations, or investigative activities; providing guidance to ensure that those involved in OIG investigations are accorded legal rights; and coordinating with the counsel's office in other agencies. In conjunction with the Department of Justice, OGC represents the OIG in federal litigation.
Review of Products and Policies
All OIG audit, inspection, and investigative reports and internal policies are reviewed and approved by OGC before being finalized and issued. OGC reviews and comments on proposed legislation and regulations, revisions to the Foreign Affairs Manual, and initiatives of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE). Finally, all other OIG products, regardless of form or type, are reviewed and approved by OGC prior to presentation or issuance.
Freedom of Information / Privacy Act
OGC ensures OIG compliance with FOIA/PA issues. OGC reviews OIG products, redacting as appropriate, for posting on the OIG website and for dissemination to the Department, to the Congress, to the public, and to FOIA/PA requesters.
OGC represents OIG in EEO complaints, mediations, grievances, disciplinary actions, or other administrative litigation related to OIG personnel issues, including referral of items to the PCIE integrity committee.
OGC provides guidance, review, and clearance upon request of the Inspector General and OIG employees concerning ethics-related issues, such as outside employment and post employment, service on outside boards, and participation in outside organizations.