This week, Issue One spearheaded a crosspartisan coalition of 11 organizations calling on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to expeditiously mark up and advance legislation designed to strengthen the Inspectors General system.
In a letter addressed to the committee, Issue One underscored the crucial role that IGs play in deterring abuse of office and power, while also improving operations and programs. “Congress’s job,” the letter states, “is to ensure IGs can independently initiate, carry out, and complete audits or investigations without interference by agency heads. Currently, without sufficient oversight by Congress to ensure IGs are removed for permissible reasons, the [Office of Inspector General]’s ability to hold government officials accountable is undermined.”
This is not an abstract concern. During President Trump’s last year in office, he removed four IGs without providing an explanation to Congress. President Obama removed an IG without a clear explanation.
The Securing Inspector General Independence Act would require the president to provide “substantive rationale, including detailed and case-specific reasons” before removing an IG and establish standard requirements for placing them on administrative leave. This would make clear Congress’ important role in maintaining Inspector General independence.
“IGs play a critical role in ensuring a federal government that works for the people. IGs are essential to meaningful transparency and the “good government” so needed at a time when the American people’s faith in their government is abysmally low. The only way to ensure that our nation maintains and fosters an efficient democracy is to promote a well-constructed IGs system that allows them space to investigate as needed. For this reason, the Senate should now act before the end of the first session of the 117th Congress to pass the strongest IG bill possible, and that effort starts with the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee considering these legislative proposals,” the letter concludes.
You can read the full text of the letter here.
The full list of signatories of this letter are as follows:
Campaign Legal Center
National Taxpayers Union
Project on Government Oversight
Stand Up Republic
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Taxpayers Protection Alliance