May 23, 2018

Non-Commercial Travel by Non-Career Department of Energy Employees

On October 12, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce requested that the Office of Inspector General review the Department of Energy’s compliance with policies and procedures related to the use of non-commercial travel by the Secretary of Energy and other non-career officials since January 2017.

In response to the Congressional request, we conducted an inspection to assess the effectiveness of the Department’s processes, procedures, and controls related to non-commercial travel by non-career Federal employees.  While the Congressional request only asked us to review trips taken since January 2017, our inspection focused on the use of Government aircraft by non-career Federal officials that was sponsored by the Department from October 1, 2015, through December 6, 2017, to assess whether processes had changed with the new administration.  Our responses to the questions posed in the Congressional request for trips taken since January 2017 are included in this report.

During our review, nothing came to our attention to indicate that non-career Federal employees within the Department had inappropriately taken trips on Government aircraft.  Although we did not identify any inappropriate trips on Government aircraft, we identified opportunities to improve the Department’s processes, procedures, and controls related to the use of Government aircraft.  In particular, we determined that development and implementation of formal policies and procedures for justifying and approving the use of Government aircraft could enhance the internal controls over non-career Federal employee travel.  In addition, we noted that improvements were needed related to maintaining supporting documentation pertaining to use of Government aircraft.  While we found no indication that the trips reviewed were inappropriate, implementing the suggestions in our report will strengthen the process for approving and using Government aircraft.

Topic: Management & Administration