Vacant Watchdog Slots Jeopardize Oversight


     WASHINGTON – A growing number of vacant Inspectors General positions at federal agencies is causing concern for Senate and House members who lead Congress’ principal oversight committees.

     In a bicameral, bipartisan letter, Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Robert Portman (R-OH) and Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and John Tierney (D-MA) urged the president to fill the spots quickly and responsibly to improve oversight of how federal tax dollars are spent.   

     “The investigations and reports of Inspectors General help Congress shape legislation and oversight activities. The Inspectors General also play an important role in improving government performance, providing transparency into federal programs and giving Americans better value for their tax dollars,” the members wrote.  

     According to the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), there are nine Inspector General positions that are vacant across the federal government. Many of these vacancies involve departments that oversee top Administration priorities, including the Department of State Inspector General and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, both of which oversee the billions of dollars spent in Afghanistan.

     In the letter, the members expressed concern that without proper watchdogs in place to oversee federal agencies, it is significantly more difficult to keep track of taxpayer dollars: 

     “We share your commitment to making our government better able to serve its citizens and perform its core missions. As a result, we have serious concerns that the lack of permanent Inspectors General at so many federal agencies is impeding the federal government’s efforts to increase efficiencies and detect and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.”

     Read the full text of the letter here.