Where Are All the
Watchdogs? Addressing Inspector General Vacancies
May 14, 2012
Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa's Statement:
In 1978, the position of Inspectors General was established to promote
efficiency and ensure that a threshold of accountability was integrated
government-wide. The IGs are the American people’s front line of
oversight of the Executive Branch. In FY2009 alone, their audits and
investigations identified $43.3 billion in potential savings. Having a
robust group of permanent inspectors general at the federal agencies is
the best way to protect taxpayers from waste, fraud and abuse.
The Obama Administration has often proclaimed its commitment to
transparency and accountability. That’s why it is so troubling that the
President has allowed vacancies at several IG offices to linger for
months, and in some cases years. Even more disturbing is the
Administration’s willingness to demonstrate a pattern of hostility
toward the inspector general community.
One of the President’s first actions on the IG front was to unlawfully
remove IG Gerald Walpin from his post at the Corporation for National
and Community Service. Not only did this termination appear to be
retribution for Walpin’s investigations into a political ally of
President Obama, but it violated the law requiring 30 days notice to
Congress with explanation for the action.
In addition, despite calling for higher taxes and more government
spending, this Administration has ignored thousands of IG
recommendations that could result in saving tens of billions of taxpayer
dollars every year.
This Administration’s failure to fill inspector general vacancies has
weakened the effectiveness of the inspector general community, thus
exposing American taxpayer dollars to waste, fraud, and abuse.
• There are currently ten vacant IG posts. Of those, eight are at
agencies where the IG is presidentially appointed.
• Four IG posts have been vacant for more than 1,000 days.
• Five IG vacancies are at cabinet-level departments.
• The State Department has been without a permanent IG for more than
This is unacceptable. IG vacancies at the State Department as well as at
the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are especially
problematic because of their recent expanding responsibilities in Iraq
these positions are left vacant for extended periods of time, the intent
of Congress is compromised. Temporary leadership is neither adequately
independent nor well-positioned to make long-term decisions.
For example, the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General’s
investigation into Fast and Furious languished for months because the
office lacked permanent leadership. DOJ Inspector General Michael
Horowitz’s recent confirmation, however, has renewed our hope that the
Fast and Furious investigation will reach a thorough and timely
With billions of dollars at stake, every Office of the Inspector General
must act decisively to protect taxpayer dollars. Swift and decisive
action requires the leadership of a permanent IG.
I look forward to hearing from the first panel today about the
weaknesses that come from vacancies in the IG community, and from the
second panel about what the Administration plans to do to fix the