Senate Confirms Top Ethics Official with McCaskill Support

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, joined the Senate in unanimously confirming the Administration’s pick to lead the Office of Government Ethics, Emory A. Rounds III. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is responsible for conducting oversight of executive agencies.

“Having a permanent ethics leader in the Administration will help us improve our efforts to hold government officials accountable to the people,” McCaskill said. “I look forward to working with Mr. Rounds to address conflicts of interest, increase transparency, and root out waste, fraud, and abuse.”

The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is tasked with preventing and resolving conflicts of interest in the executive branch. Before his nomination to serve as OGE Director, Rounds was an associate counsel at OGE and previously served in the ethics office of the Commerce Department and in the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

From her time serving as Missouri State Auditor to leading the Senate’s top oversight committee, increasing government transparency and accountability has long been a priority for McCaskill. The non-partisan organization GovTrack has ranked her as the top Senator for government transparency. Last year, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill led by McCaskill and Republican Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin that reauthorizes and expands the authority of the Office of Special Counsel, which is in charge of whistleblower protections. She previously partnered with Johnson and Grassley to pass a bill further empowering each agency’s Inspector General to conduct oversight targeting waste, fraud, and abuse.

McCaskill led efforts to pass the bipartisan Inspector General Empowerment Act, which enhances watchdogs’ ability to oversee waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars at federal agencies. McCaskill has also extended and made permanent current whistleblower protections to nearly all federal government grantees, subgrantees, contractors and subcontractors.