Issa asks: Where are the watchdogs?
Several key agencies are missing permanent watchdogs, and "President Obama's Annoyer-in-Chief" wants to know why.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, wants to know why the Obama administration has failed to nominate permanent inspectors general at the CIA, Government Accountability Office and State Department, among other spots.
A May analysis by the Center for Public Integrity found that at least 15 of the 73 federal inspector general jobs are vacant; Issa's office says 10 of 69 offices lack permanent leaders. (The numbers are hard to track because agencies big and small have IG offices and some don't get counted in certain tallies.)
“Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the alarmingly high number of vacancies in the IG community is the fact that many occur at agencies with critical roles in national security," Issa wrote in a letter to Obama.
The CIA hasn't had an inspector general since March 2009, and there's been no permanent watchdog keeping tabs on Foggy Bottom since Dec. 2007. The Office of Special Counsel, which handles whistleblower complaints, hasn't had one since October 2008.
“There is perhaps no greater ally than the IG community to your Administration’s oft-stated commitment to transparency and accountability," Issa noted in his letter.
Indeed, the Obama administration has devoted considerable time and attention to talking about transparency and accountability, especially when discussing the economic stimulus program. And then-Sen. Obama co-sponsored the 2008 Inspector General Act, a law that provided federal watchdogs with more Congressional support and political independence.
No immediate response from the White House, which has plenty of other vacancies. Last week colleague Al Kamen noted there are still 43 top agency jobs to fill, with plenty of other lower-ranking slots still empty.
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| July 16, 2010; 3:48 PM ET
Categories: Congress, Oversight
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