Peters, Colleagues to Urge Trump to Quickly Nominate Government Watchdogs

Inspectors General Needed to Conduct Critical Oversight and Investigations of Taxpayer Dollars

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S Senator Gary Peters (MI), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management, joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues to send a letter urging President Donald Trump to quickly nominate qualified candidates for Inspectors General (IGs), who serve as watchdogs at federal agencies. According to a 2014 report from the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), for every federal dollar invested in the IG community, IGs recoup 18 dollars in potential savings from identifying waste, fraud, and abuse.

“While many acting IGs have served admirably in the absence of permanent leadership, the lack of a permanent leader threatens to impede the ability of these offices to conduct the oversight and investigations necessary to ensure that taxpayer dollars are protected, public safety risks are identified, and that whistleblowers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse are protected,” the senators wrote. “In addition, the lack of a permanent IG can create the potential for conflicts of interest and diminish the essential independence of IGs.”

Many government agencies have an independent Office of the Inspector General that is responsible for auditing federal programs in order to improve government operations and target waste, fraud, and abuse, as well as investigating whistleblower claims and allegations of wrongdoing. The following agencies currently lack a presidentially-appointed permanent Inspector General: Department of the Interior, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Office of Personnel Management, Social Security Administration, National Security Agency, Small Business Administration and Intelligence Community. The United States Postal Service, AbilityOne Commission, and the Federal Election Commission have Inspectors General vacancies that the agencies are required to fill. The members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee had previously sent a similar letter to President Obama urging him to fill Inspectors General vacancies. 

As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management, Senator Peters is tasked with ensuring the federal government operates effectively and that tax dollars are used efficiently. Additionally, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is responsible for oversight of the efficiency and effectiveness of all federal agencies. The work of Inspectors General has been essential for Committee investigations and oversight that targets waste, fraud, and abuse.

Peters was joined by U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Tom Carper (D-DE), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), James Lankford (R-OK), Ed Markey (D-MA), Rand Paul (R-KY), Rob Portman (R-OH) in sending the letter to President Trump.

The text of the letter is copied here.