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Report: 15 of 73 watchdog jobs vacant

By Ed O'Keefe

At least 15 of the 73 federal inspectors general, auditor or whistleblower protection jobs are vacant or tied up in the Senate confirmation process, according to a new report by the Center for Public Integrity.

Congress created 12 inspector general positions in 1978 and the list has grown to cover at least 69 agencies. Though they've been known to unearth some real doozies (porn at the SEC, anyone?), they've also caused their own problems (remember the State Department's Howard Krongard or Scott Bloch at OSC?)

But the State Department, Central Intelligence Agency and Office of Special Counsel still lack presidentially appointed watchdogs after more than a year of vacancies. Congress's main investigative agency, the Government Accountability Office, has gone without a permanent leader for more than 18 months.

The CPI study -- by former Washington Times editor and Washington Post investigative reporter John Solomon -- notes that the Senate has confirmed four IGs during the first 15 months of the Obama administration but is holding up several others, including IG nominees for the Environmental Protection Agency, the Corporation for National and Community Service and Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Obama has yet to name nominees for watchdogs at the Labor Department and the Export-Import Bank, the report said. He might also have to appoint five new watchdogs at financial regulatory agencies if financial regulatory reform moves forward as planned (even though the current officeholders are concerned the changes would jeopardize their political independence).

Read the full report and leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 4, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Oversight  
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