Friday, February 29, 2008

We need more and stronger Inspectors General

The Washington Post reports:
Inspectors general appointed to uncover waste, fraud and misconduct in federal agencies often lead underfunded and poorly staffed units and are not as independent as the public has been led to believe, according to a study released yesterday by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

The study noted that more than half the 64 inspectors general are not appointed by the president or subject to Senate confirmation hearings. They are appointed by agency heads who in many cases control the watchdogs' budgets and have on occasion retaliated against them over unfavorable reports by cutting funding or denying promotions to staff members, the report said.

"The inescapable conclusion is that an IG who lacks independence is an impostor -- even calling such an office 'Inspector General' confuses the press and public and can create pitfalls for potential whistleblowers," the nonprofit advocacy group concluded.
Comment: The Inspectors General represent an important component of the knowledge systems of our government agencies, and they should not be compromised in the ways this article describes. JAD

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