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Eye Opener: IG Investigations Continue

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Wednesday! Investigations into the dismissals of inspectors general continue, as House investigators announced Tuesday they plan to launch a new probe into the firing of the watchdog at the International Trade Commission.

Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) said his Oversight and Government Reform Committee would suspend its investigation into the firing of Gerald Walpin, the former inspector general at the Corporation for National and Community Service, since the former watchdog filed suit against the agency last Friday in federal court.

"We have met with White House staff and interviewed staff at the Corporation for National and Community Service, and Democratic and Republican board members, and have reviewed hundreds of pages of documents," Towns said in a statement. "This evidence shows that the Corporation board’s report expressing concerns about Mr. Walpin’s performance was fact-based, unanimous, and nonpartisan." Towns said President Obama had "legitimate reasons for removing Mr. Walpin."

The panel will however look into the firing of Judith Gwynn, who was removed as ITC's inspector general in June. It also continues to investigate the unexpected retirement of Amtrak's inspector general, who left the rail company on the same day he submitted a report about potential interference with his investigations.

“The facts concerning each of the three agencies present unique circumstances. We have found no evidence to connect them, or broader problems with the inspector general system," Towns said.

On the Senate side, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today proposes the creation of an inspector general-in-chief.

"Over 30 years, IGs haven’t always exercised enough independence," Grassley writes today in Politico:

Either they’re not fully committed to the IG mission of rooting out waste and mismanagement or they get intimidated by agency heads who don’t want an aggressive IG snooping around. The lack of IG independence has existed whether Republicans or Democrats control either the White House or Congress. I saw it during the past eight years with the Bush administration, and I see it again today. The question is whether the Obama administration is taking IG damage control to a new and more disturbing level.

The Iowa Republican's office was the first to raise questions about interference with Walpin's investigations, and the incidents at ITC, Amtrak and the Library of Congress.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Cabinet and Staff News: In Asia, Hillary Rodham Clinton warns Myanmar and North Korea may be sharing nuclear technology and won't have to participate in skits at the ASEAN conference. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. faces a career-defining decision to appoint a criminal prosecutor to investigate the interrogations of 9/11 terrorism suspects. Is White House Counsel Gregory Craig on his way out? Two nominees for Latin American posts held. New NASA boss vows astronauts on Mars in his lifetime.

Government Meeting? Stay Away From Fun City: What do Reno, Orlando and Las Vegas have in common? To some pockets of the federal government, they just seem like too much fun. Instead, employees at some big agencies, like the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are being encouraged to host meetings in more buttoned-down places such as St. Louis, Milwaukee or Denver.

Lawmakers Rebuke Treasury Department Over TARP: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) went as far as to compare the Treasury's refusal to provide regular updates to the way convicted Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernard L. Madoff misled his clients.

Breaking SBA Lending Logjam: The Treasury Department is finalizing a $15 billion initiative to stimulate lending by the agency by using funds from the federal bailout program to buy up SBA loans.

Crowded Prisons Endanger Workers, Union Says: The stomach-turning catalogue of violence against federal prison employees, provided by the American Federation of Government Employees, is long, serious and apparently unending. The assaults are sometimes fatal.

Doubts Slow Financial Regulation Overhaul on Capitol Hill: The administration plans an aggressive effort to rebuild support for the overhaul, including a series of public speeches intended to remind lawmakers why the efforts must move forward.

Agency Officials: Stimulus Bids Coming in Far Under Estimates: Acting Administrator Paul Prouty said GSA has seen bids 10 percent below what projects were estimated to cost, on average.

GAO: Pentagon Didn't Break Rules on Propaganda: But the use of military analysts by the administration prompted legitimate questions from members of Congress and the news media about whether defense contractors with commercial ties to the retired officers received favorable treatment in procurement decisions.

Study: Shortage of Cyber Experts May Hinder Gov't.: The study describes a fragmented federal cyber force, where no one is in charge of overall planning and government agencies are "on their own and sometimes working at cross purposes or in competition with one another."

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 22, 2009; 6:20 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Oversight  
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Next: NASA's Charlie Bolden Gets Verklempt

Comments

2nd Chance Act of 2007 Hard and Expensive
Since the Second Chance Act took effect in 2008, taxpayers are putting out more money and some federal inmates are doing more time.
The Dept of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons(the largest of Federal bureauaracies, minus Dept of Defense)is holding inmates at Alderson Federal Prison Camp past their previous release dates based upon the discretion granted them by the Second Chance Act.
The " Act " apparently gave discreation to the Bureau of Prisons over the judicial release dates of hundreds of thousands of Federal prisoners, but was geared mainly at first time, non violent offenders.
Federal inmates with 60 months , or over sentences were calculated with a vested 6 months Community Confinement (or 10% home confinement) as an intragrel part of their sentence.
The BOP, purportedly via congressional authority are using the "Act" to take away community confinement of all types from these inmates (ex post facto) and prospectively to all other inmates in their control.
This cost could be tremendous and is additional cost as opposed to the savings represented by supporters of the bill.
These inmates cost the taxpayer upward of $ 2,416.60 per month, therefore, even if only a portion of the inmates are held over for several months , the cost to the taxpayers could easily be several billions of dollars more than they are already paying.

Posted by: ggoforth072553 | July 22, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

President Obama should get rid of all the Cheney/Bush hold overs. All these people are doing is trying to undermine his Administration. They can't be trusted, so they need to "GO."

The future is more important than any one Party.

Posted by: austininc4 | July 22, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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