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Issa asks: Where are the watchdogs?

By Ed O'Keefe

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.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 16, 2010; 3:48 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, Oversight  
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Great stuff ISSA ... it should be on the front page today.

Readership would soar.

Posted by: dottydo | July 16, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Even though I had 18 years of previous tenured federal government service, I was still fired from my job in 2001. I immediately reported my supervisor's infractions to the IG of my agency. I was sexually harassed in my job by my supervisor and his secretary. I also refused to work for my supervisor's personal business that he operated out of our government facility using federal employees. Mysteriously, the IG agent actually told me that my former supervisor was protected by upper agency management and there was nothing they could do to help me. They did however, order my supervisor to cease operating his personal business. He went unpunished but I still cannot secure a federal position because of his actions against me. As far as I am concerned, the Inspector General office is just a sieve to hide numerous agency problems that are illegal and downright wrong with our government.

Posted by: Firedgovernmentservant | July 17, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Why hasn't Obama nominated anyone to these positions?

Oh, I don't know... Could it have anything to do with the fact that the GOP has spent the past two years mindlessly obstructing the confirmation of nearly every individual the President has nominated for anything, including the ones it supports in the end??

Posted by: studentoflaw | July 17, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

An honest politician is one who stays bought. An honest IG, well that's just plain scary. For starters, how would an honest politician know where to begin looking for one ?

Posted by: gannon_dick | July 17, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

studentoflaw should be scaredofminorities

Posted by: jiji1 | July 21, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

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