WASHINGTON—Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., and three other members of the Committee are expressing concern over allegations that an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) employee threatened the Office of Personnel Management Inspector General.  In a letter to OMB Director Peter Orszag, the Senators detailed their interest in the alleged threat, as well as their expectation that OMB would review the incident and report back to the Committee on its findings.

Joining Lieberman and Collins in sending the letter were Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management Chairman Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and Ranking Member George Voinovich, R-Ohio, as well as Committee member Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.,

The letter to Director Orszag follows:


Mr. Peter Orszag


The Office of Management and Budget

725 17th Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20503


Dear Director Orszag:


We are writing to express our concern with recent allegations which could seriously affect the independence of Inspectors General. Specifically, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Inspector General (IG) has notified our Committee that an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) program examiner allegedly threatened retaliation against the OPM IG if the IG provided official comments on the fiscal year 2011 budget submission to Congress.


Inspectors General are vital partners in Congress’s effort to identify inefficient, ineffective, and improper government spending. By leveraging the expertise and independence of Inspectors General and their staffs, Congress has been able to identify, and take action to stop, wasteful spending. The investigations and reports of Inspectors General throughout the government help Congress shape legislation and oversight activities – improving the government performance, providing important transparency into programs, and giving Americans better value for their tax dollar.


Our Committee worked hard to enact the Inspector General Reform Act of 2008, which includes several provisions specifically intended to enhance IG independence from inappropriate influence. One such provision provides that any official comments from the IG must be included in the Administration’s budget submitted to Congress, including comments from the IG indicating that the President’s budget request would “substantially inhibit” him or her from performing the duties of the office. This provision was intended to ensure that IGs have sufficient resources to perform their jobs, and in particular to prevent agencies from punishing an IG for rigorous oversight by reducing the IG budget.


The allegations the OPM IG has made against OMB are serious and call for an immediate investigation. The OPM IG has indicated that he referred the matter to the White House Counsel’s office. We expect that OMB will conduct a thorough review of the alleged incident and take immediate steps to ensure that the IG’s authorities under the IG Reform Act are not undermined. We request that you provide your findings to the Committee as soon as you have completed your review.


Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. If you have any questions about this request, please direct them to Amanda Wood at (202) 224-9873 or Lisa Nieman at (202) 224-9296, both of Senator Collins’s staff, Holly Idelson of Senator Lieberman’s staff at (202) 224-2627, Christine Khim of Senator Akaka’s staff at (202) 224-4551, Sean Stiff of Senator Voinovich’s staff at (202) 224-3682, or Nichole Distefano of Senator McCaskill’s staff at (202) 228-6252.




Joseph I. Lieberman                                                               



Susan M. Collins

Ranking Member


Daniel Akaka                                                                                                                                     


Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management


George Voinovich

Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management


Claire McCaskill

U.S. Senator