New Senate Panel Will Probe Inspectors General
A new, long-anticipated Senate panel tasked with oversight of government contracting will hold its first hearing next Tuesday, focused on the work and resources of inspectors general.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on contracting oversight, which was established in late January amid growing awareness and pressure for stricter oversight of the expensive, confusing, occasionally secretive work of government contractors. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) serves as the panel's ranking Republican. Margaret Daum, formely with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee when it was chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), will lead a two-person staff, according to McCaskill spokeswoman Maria Speiser.
McCaskill plans to hold hearings at least once every six weeks and while the first meeting will focus on broad contracting issues and concerns, the panel will later focus on the use of foreign contractor firms, how contractors and the military are preparing for troop withdrawals in Iraq and expanded operations in Afghanistan and the suspension and debarment of contracting companies, Speiser said.
Senators are scheduled to hear next week from GSA Inspector General Brian Miller, Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner, Defense Department Inspector General Charles W. Beardall and Anthony Ogden, the Government Printing Office inspector general and a leader of the Inspectors General Council on Integrity and Efficiency.
McCaskill, a former prosecutor and Missouri state auditor, has focused much of her Senate tenure on government oversight and management. She has supported the expansion of inspector general programs and has kept close watch on the government's distribution of economic stimulus funds. She recently suggested that the government hire recently unemployed journalists to manage the Recovery.gov Web site.
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