OMB staffer intimidated OPM's watchdog, will face disciplinary action
An Office of Management and Budget staffer intimidated staffers for the Office of Personnel Management's top watchdog in violation of federal law, according to an OMB investigation completed late last week.
OMB Director Peter R. Orszag informed the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Friday that the career staffer will soon face disciplinary action concurrent with civil service laws.
OPM Inspector General Patrick E. McFarland alleged in January that OPM's budget office received a "not so veiled threat from OMB" against telling Congress of concerns about its budget.
Such guidance would violate a 2008 law that allows federal watchdogs to inform Congress if they believe their proposed budgets would inhibit oversight duties. The law was designed to protect watchdogs from top agency officials who might slash their budgets in retaliation for hard-hitting investigations.
"Such communication is unacceptable at OMB," Orszag said in a letter to lawmakers.
OMB's investigation and the Council on Integrity and Efficiency for Inspectors General determined that the incident appears to be isolated, Orszag said. CIGIE represents the more than five dozen federal watchdogs and is chaired by OMB Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients.
| March 8, 2010; 5:27 PM ET
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