NASA v. FLRA, 527 U.S. 229, 11 (1999)

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Cite as: 527 U. S. 229 (1999)

Opinion of the Court

tration, or investigations." 3(a). Each of these Inspectors General "shall report to and be under the general supervision of the head of the establishment involved or, to the extent such authority is delegated, the officer next in rank below such head," but shall not be subject to supervision by any lesser officer. Ibid. Moreover, an Inspector General's seniors within the agency may not "prevent or prohibit" the Inspector General from initiating or conducting any audit or investigation. Ibid.; see also 6(a)(2). The President retains the power to remove an Inspector General from office. 3(b).

Section 4 contains a detailed description of the duties of each Inspector General with respect to the agency "within which his Office is established." 4(a). Those duties include conducting audits and investigations, recommending new policies, reviewing legislation, and keeping the head of the agency and the Congress "fully and currently informed" through such means as detailed, semiannual reports. 4(a)(1)-(5). Pursuant to 5, those reports must be furnished to the head of the agency, who, in turn, must forward them to the appropriate committee or subcommittee of Congress with such comment as the agency head deems appropriate. 5(b)(1); see also 5(d). Section 6 grants the Inspectors General specific authority in a variety of areas to facilitate the mission of their offices. Accordingly, Inspectors General possess discretion to conduct investigations "relating to the administration of the programs and operations of the applicable" agency, 6(a)(2); the ability to request information and assistance from Government agencies, 6(a)(3); access to the head of the agency, 6(a)(6); and the power to hire employees, enter into contracts, and spend congressionally appropriated funds, 6(a)(7), (9); see also 3(d). Finally, 9(a)(1)(P) provides for the transfer of the functions previously performed by NASA's " 'Management Audit Office' and the 'Office of Inspections and Security' " to NASA-OIG.

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