Blue Dogs Back Legislation to Empower, Protect Inspectors General

May 1, 2020 by Dan McCue
Rep. Jim Cooper

WASHINGTON – The Blue Dog Coalition has endorsed the Inspectors General Independence Act, which establishes seven-year terms for the position and protects those who hold it from politically-motivated firings by only allowing removal for cause.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., a longtime member of the Blue Dog Coalition and advocate for government reform, following a series of actions by the White House seen as undermining the ability of IGs to oversee the government’s pandemic response.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., is the sponsor of the Senate companion of this legislation.

“At a time when Congress has never spent so much money so quickly, oversight from Inspectors General has never been more essential,” Cooper said. “Our country is facing a crisis we’ve never seen before and bad actors should be held accountable.”

In 2007, the House of Representatives passed these measures with overwhelming bipartisan support as part of the Improving Government Accountability Act, which later became the Inspector General Reform Act and passed the Senate with unanimous support in 2008.

The bill was signed into law in 2008, but the seven-year term and protections against political retribution were removed from the enacted version.

The Inspectors General Independence Act would add back these two components from Rep. Cooper’s original bill.

“Trillions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on protecting our health and supporting our economy,” said Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, co-chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility & Government Reform.

“Now, more than ever, we must have independent watchdogs to ensure full transparency and that we get the most for every tax dollar spent. Oversight must be free of political interference and influence,” McAdams said.

“The necessity for independent Inspectors General throughout our federal government has never been greater,” agreed Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawaii, the other co-chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility & Government Reform.

“Even in normal times the value of insulated oversight within the federal executive branch is immeasurable,” Case said. “With the unprecedented level of accelerated federal spending necessitated by the COVID-19 crisis, there is a grave danger of abuse, fraud, insider trading, waste and profiteering that left unaddressed will seriously compromise our goals, diminish critical resources, destroy public trust and cost lives. Only the strongest, most credible, balanced, constant and committed oversight through independent Inspectors General will avoid these results.”

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