Allison C. Lerner assumed the duties as Inspector General of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in April 2009, reporting to the National Science Board and the Congress. As head of the Office of Inspector General, she recommends policies for promoting economy, efficiency and effectiveness of NSF programs and operations. She leads efforts to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse; improve the integrity of NSF programs and operations; and investigate allegations of misconduct in science.
Ms. Lerner was appointed in November 2005 as Counsel to the Inspector General at the Department of Commerce, a position through which she acted as the IG's principal legal advisor and managed the office's staff attorneys and provision of legal services.
Ms. Lerner began her federal career in 1991, joining the Office of Inspector General at Commerce as assistant counsel, and has been a member of the senior executive service since 2005. During her tenure at Commerce, she served as special assistant to the IG, Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Auditing, and Acting Assistant Inspector General for Auditing. Prior to joining the federal government, she was an associate at a law firm in San Antonio, Texas.
In June 2011, Ms. Lerner was designated by President Obama as a member of the Government Accountability and Transparency Board. She has chaired the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency since January 2021 and served as its vice chair from January 2015 through December 2020.
Ms. Lerner has been honored by the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE) with three awards for excellence: in 2001, for her work reviewing the Department of Commerce's management of 5,000 intra-agency and special agreements worth over $1 billion; in 2002, for her assistance in a complex investigation of false claims submitted under a financial award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology; and in 2005, for her review of a controversial study that recommended significant structural changes to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Finance and Administrative Services.
Ms. Lerner received her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and a B.A. in liberal arts from the University of Texas. She is admitted to the bar in both Texas and the District of Columbia.