The Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) investigates allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, and misconduct in agencies under the Governor's jurisdiction. BSI's experienced team of investigators works closely with OSIG attorneys to serve the citizens of Pennsylvania by working to identify and eliminate problems and deficiencies including mismanagement of state monies, employee misconduct, and contract fraud and irregularities. BSI is committed to conducting effective, independent, and timely investigations.
BSI receives its complaints from several sources including private citizens, state employees, and Commonwealth officials. BSI also initiates its own investigations when appropriate. Citizens can use the OSIG's website and telephone hotline to file complaints with BSI, or submit complaints in writing. BSI reviews all complaints. Some complaints lead to extensive complex investigations, while others may be referred to another state agency which is best suited to address the complaint or the complaint may be closed after preliminary inquiry fails to substantiate the allegations. Pennsylvania’s Whistleblower Law protects Commonwealth employees who, in good faith, report instances of wrongdoing or waste to an appropriate authority, including the OSIG. (43 P.S. § 1423)
BSI also plays a role in increasing the effectiveness with which the Commonwealth does business by conducting program reviews when it suspects faults in a work process or program. BSI conducts a complete review of a work procedure or commonwealth program in an effort to improve transparency, effectiveness, and delivery of services, including employee accountability and management oversight. These program reviews can occur as a result of a related investigation or can be requested by an agency's executive level management.
Upon BSI’s completion of an investigation or program review, the OSIG may issue a report or guidance letter, when appropriate, to the Office of General Counsel and specific agency heads detailing BSI's findings and making recommendations for the agency to move forward. The findings of some investigations may rise to the level of criminal activity and are referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for possible prosecution. Other investigations may result in referrals to the State Ethics Commission or other administrative bodies for appropriate action.
BSI's investigations have prompted positive changes and served as a deterrent to future misconduct. As a result of BSI's investigations and program reviews, wrongdoers have been disciplined, prosecuted, and removed from Commonwealth employment. Investigations have also led to important reforms of Commonwealth operations resulting in increased accountability and effectiveness.
Along with conducting investigations and program reviews, BSI is tasked with conducting pre-employment background investigations for executive level appointments and other positions of trust within the Commonwealth. BSI also conducts background investigations of commercial real estate landlords that have applied to lease office space to the Department of General Services for Commonwealth agencies. In conducting these backgrounds, BSI focuses on, among other things, ensuring that the parties and proposed leased premises are compliant with state and local tax obligations and environmental and municipal code regulations.