WASHINGTON — All 16 members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee sent a letter Monday to President Barack Obama and 10 agencies across the executive branch. The letter urges the president and his agency heads to expeditiously nominate permanent inspectors general, the federal government’s watchdogs. The letter follows a committee hearing last month examining how Congress can better support and empower the work of inspectors general and highlighting the risks of keeping acting inspectors general in these roles over long periods.
Currently, there are 10 vacant inspector general positions, at the Department of the Interior, the Agency for International Development, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Department of Veterans Affairs, the General Services Administration, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the Denali Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission. Only two of these have nominations pending before Congress.
Senator Johnson said, “Fifteen percent of agencies with Offices of Inspector General (OIGs) are forced to operate without a permanent IG, confirmed by the Senate. Some of these positions have been vacant for extraordinary periods of time: The president has allowed the Department of Interior to go without a permanent inspector general for 2,216 days, the Department of Veterans Affairs, one of the most troubled agencies in the federal government, for 444 days. The list goes on. The absence of permanent, Senate-confirmed or agency-appointed inspectors general in these positions significantly diminishes the ability of OIGs to perform thorough and independent oversight. Our committee will continue to provide OIGs with the support they need, and that includes putting pressure on the president and his agency heads to quickly fill these positions.”
Senator Carper said, “Inspectors Generals and their staffs promote efficiencies throughout our federal government, help reveal and prosecute wrongdoing, and provide invaluable support to Congress and the agencies they oversee. Simply put, they are an essential component of government oversight. But if we expect these offices to meet their missions and get results, they must have permanent leadership in place. I urge President Obama and the appropriate agency leaders to act swiftly and nominate permanent Inspectors General so that we can ensure the most qualified candidates are in these positions.”
An electronic version of the letter can be found here.
Below is a list of all agencies and federal entities who received the senators’ letter.
The Honorable Sally Jewell
Secretary of the Interior
The Honorable Alfonso E. Lenhardt
U.S. Agency for International Development
The Honorable Martin J. Gruenberg
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
The Honorable Robert A. McDonald
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Ms. Denise Turner Roth
General Services Administration
The Honorable Fred P. Hochberg
Chairman and President
Export-Import Bank of the United States
The Honorable John O. Brennan
Central Intelligence Agency
The Honorable David S. Ferriero
Archivist of the United States
Ms. Alice Maroni
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
Mr. Joel Neimeyer
The Honorable Edith Ramirez
Federal Trade Commission