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Inspector General Biography

Phyllis Fong (wiki)

Phyllis K. Fong, Inspector General

Phyllis K. Fong was sworn in as Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on December 2, 2002.  Ms. Fong was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

As Inspector General (IG), Ms. Fong is the senior official responsible for audits, investigations, and other oversight activities relating to USDA’s programs and operations.  The Office of Inspector General (OIG) provides leadership in promoting economy and effectiveness in USDA programs and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse.  Ms. Fong’s priorities as IG have been to focus OIG’s resources on the protection of public health and safety related to USDA’s mission and operations, and to improve the management and financial integrity of the Department’s programs.

In November 2008, Ms. Fong was elected by the Inspector General community as the first Chairperson of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), an independent agency established by Congress in the Inspector General Reform Act of 2008.  CIGIE’s members include 72 Federal Inspectors General, and its mission is to promote economy and effectiveness in Federal programs through coordinated Governmentwide activities.  She served for three terms as CIGIE Chair, concluding her tenure in December 2014.  Ms. Fong also served as a member of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, established by Congress to oversee Federal spending under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 until its sunset in September 2015.  The Board’s responsibilities included oversight of disaster relief funds for Hurricane Sandy.

Ms. Fong has been the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of her leadership in enhancing sound financial management practices and policies in the Federal Government.  Most recently, she received the Frank Greathouse Distinguished Leadership Award from the Association of Government Accountants in July 2015 for sustained outstanding leadership in financial management and notable professional contributions at the national level.

Prior to her appointment at USDA, Ms. Fong was nominated by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be Inspector General of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  Ms. Fong served as SBA’s Inspector General from April 1999 until December 2002.  A career member of the Senior Executive Service, she held several senior management positions at SBA OIG.    

Ms. Fong was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii.  She graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. degree in Asian studies and earned her J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law.  Ms. Fong is a member of the Tennessee and District of Columbia bars.  She and her husband have two children.