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WASHINGTON — All 16 members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee sent a letter Monday to President Barack Obama and 10 agencies across the executive branch.  The letter urges the president and his agency heads to expeditiously nominate permanent inspectors general, the federal government’s watchdogs.  The letter follows a committee hearing last month examining how Congress can better support and empower the work of inspectors general and highlighting the risks of keeping acting inspectors general in these roles over long periods. 

Currently, there are 10 vacant inspector general positions, at the Department of the Interior, the Agency for International Development, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Department of Veterans Affairs, the General Services Administration, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the Denali Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission.  Only two of these have nominations pending before Congress.

Senator Johnson said,  “Fifteen percent of agencies with Offices of Inspector General (OIGs) are forced to operate without a permanent IG, confirmed by the Senate.   Some of these positions have been vacant for extraordinary periods of time: The president has allowed the Department of Interior to go without a permanent inspector general for 2,216 days, the Department of Veterans Affairs, one of the most troubled agencies in the federal government, for 444 days. The list goes on. The absence of permanent, Senate-confirmed or agency-appointed inspectors general in these positions significantly diminishes the ability of OIGs to perform thorough and independent oversight.  Our committee will continue to provide OIGs with the support they need, and that includes putting pressure on the president and his agency heads to quickly fill these positions.”  

Senator Carper said, “Inspectors Generals and their staffs promote efficiencies throughout our federal government, help reveal and prosecute wrongdoing, and provide invaluable support to Congress and the agencies they oversee. Simply put, they are an essential component of government oversight. But if we expect these offices to meet their missions and get results, they must have permanent leadership in place. I urge President Obama and the appropriate agency leaders to act swiftly and nominate permanent Inspectors General so that we can ensure the most qualified candidates are in these positions.”

 An electronic version of the letter can be found *here*.

Below is a list of all agencies and federal entities who received the senators’ letter.

            The Honorable Sally Jewell
            Secretary of the Interior

            The Honorable Alfonso E. Lenhardt
            Acting Administrator
            U.S. Agency for International Development

            The Honorable Martin J. Gruenberg
            Chairman
            Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

            The Honorable Robert A. McDonald
            Secretary of Veterans Affairs

            Ms. Denise Turner Roth
            Acting Administrator
            General Services Administration

            The Honorable Fred P. Hochberg
            Chairman and President
            Export-Import Bank of the United States

            The Honorable John O. Brennan
            Director
            Central Intelligence Agency

            The Honorable David S. Ferriero
            Archivist of the United States

            Ms. Alice Maroni
            Acting Director
            Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

            Mr. Joel Neimeyer
            Federal Co-Chair
            Denali Commission

            The Honorable Edith Ramirez
            Chairwoman
            Federal Trade Commission

 

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