AFR joins a letter to the White House and the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE). It calls on President Biden to nominate individuals to fill all open inspector general positions by June 1, 2021. Inspectors general are a linchpin of government accountability yet fourteen of the seventy-four total offices of the inspectors general are vacant. The ongoing response to COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of using all available mechanisms within the federal government to ensure proper oversight and accountability of government programs.
You can find the full text of the letter below.
March 24, 2021
Dear President Biden and Vice President Harris,
As ongoing crises such as COVID-19 continue to impact the lives of millions across the country, it is crucial that we use all available mechanisms within the federal government to catch problems early in the complex response to COVID and other issues. Inspectors general are a linchpin of government accountability, ensuring the efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars, competent program management, and protecting against waste, fraud and abuse. However, currently fourteen of the seventy-four total offices of the inspectors general are vacant.
In April 2020, the Trump Administration dismissed four key inspectors general, which included the Office of the Inspector General of the Departments of Defense, Intelligence, State, and Transportation. Filling these offices, and additional unfilled offices in the Departments of Education, Labor, Treasury, and others, is an opportunity to restore the accountability powers of the federal government and of agencies that have remained under-equipped to address key challenges. As nine former Inspectors General recently wrote to Congress, watchdogs in an “acting capacity are less likely to make needed adjustments to the OIG staffing, organization, and process given the temporary nature of their appointment” and may also be less likely to take on “important but controversial matters”. By nominating qualified individuals to fill these vacant positions, your administration will be restoring the full power of these critical oversight offices to help their agencies respond more effectively to the COVID-19 crisis.
We, the undersigned organizations, encourage the Biden Administration to nominate individuals to fill all fourteen open inspector general positions by June 1, 2021. The ongoing hardship that the coronavirus crisis has wrought nationwide, and globally, underscores the urgency of doing so. Inspectors general address fraud and mismanagement in government, and too many positions have remained vacant for too long. It is time to restore the inspectors general community and return it to full strength.
Americans for Financial Reform
Good Jobs First
Government Accountability Project
Jobs With Justice
Partnership for Public Service
Partnership for Working Families
Project On Government Oversight
Revolving Door Project
Transparency Task Force