Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Ranking Member Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and a bipartisan group of their colleagues are urging President Donald Trump to quickly nominate qualified candidates for Inspectors General (IGs), who serve as watchdogs at federal agencies. Johnson and McCaskill were joined by Senators Tom Carper of Delaware, Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Gary Peters of Michigan, and Rob Portman of Ohio in their letter to President Trump.
"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 to 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.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is responsible for oversight of all federal agencies. The work of Inspectors General has been essential for Committee investigations and oversight that targets waste, fraud, and abuse.