Hoyer, Top House Democrats Introduce Bill to Protect Inspectors General from Retaliation

May 22, 2020 by Dan McCue
State Department Inspector General Steve Linick departs the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on October 2, 2019. Linick reportedly met with congressional officials to brief them on information related to the impeachment inquiry centered around President Donald Trump. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and several ranking House Democrats introduced legislation on Friday to protect inspectors general across the executive branch from being fired as a result of political retaliation.

The Inspector General Independence Act would allow an inspector general to be removed only for specific causes and would require documentation of that cause to be reported directly to Congress.

They include documented permanent incapacity, neglect of duty, malfeasance, conviction of a felony or conduct involving moral turpitude, knowing violation of a law or regulation, gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, or inefficiency.

In addition to Hoyer, the bill’s lead sponsors are Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney, of New York, chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform; Gerald Connolly, of Virginia, chair of the Subcommittee on Government Operations; and Stephen Lynch, of Massachusetts, chair of the Subcommittee on National Security. 

“It is critical that Congress protect the independence and integrity of inspectors general across federal agencies, who play an essential role in holding government officials accountable to the law and to the American people they serve,” Hoyer said in a statement

“I commend Chairwoman Maloney for her leadership on this issue, and I’m proud to have worked with her to develop this important bill aimed at upholding the rule of law and its faithful execution,” he said.

For her part, Maloney said, “Unfortunately, this bill has become necessary because the Trump Administration has launched a campaign against inspectors general for doing their jobs, for investigating waste, fraud, and abuse, for reporting the truth, and for holding this administration accountable.”

Connolly agreed, accusing the administration of repeatedly demonstrating a complete disregard for independent oversight.

“The independence of IGs is essential to accountability that is essential to our democracy,” Connolly said. “Silence and inaction by Congress will only embolden this reckless behavior.”

Trump has removed or replaced numerous inspectors general over the course of his administration in what the Democrats say appears to be retaliation for investigating misconduct in the executive branch.

Those subjected to this treatment include the inspectors general and/or acting inspectors general for the Intelligence Community, State Department, Transportation Department, Health and Human Services Department, and the Pentagon, who was also supposed to serve as head of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee created by Congress in March.

“President Trump’s relentless attacks against these honest and dedicated government watchdogs are contrary to our fundamental democratic values,” Lynch said. “This legislation will safeguard inspectors general from political retaliation and ensure they are able to prevent the theft and misuse of American taxpayer dollars.”

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) have endorsed the bill.

The text of the Inspector General Independence Act can be read here.

In The News

Health

Voting

Congress

House GOP Elects Trump Defender Stefanik to No. 3 Post
Congress
House GOP Elects Trump Defender Stefanik to No. 3 Post
May 14, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Republican House members handily elected Rep. Elise Stefanik, of New York, to the number three post in their conference leadership Friday, hoping her elevation will end an intra-party feud between allies of former President Donald Trump and his GOP detractors. With little suspense, Stefanik... Read More

House Reaches Bipartisan Agreement on Jan. 6 Commission
Congress
House Reaches Bipartisan Agreement on Jan. 6 Commission
May 14, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - A House panel reached a bipartisan agreement Friday on legislation that will establish a 9/11-style commission to review events surrounding the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol. The deal reached by the House Homeland Security Committee means a vote on the Jan. 6... Read More

Uptick in Mental Health Problems Prompts Calls for Crisis Intervention
Mental Health
Uptick in Mental Health Problems Prompts Calls for Crisis Intervention
May 14, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Incidents the past few days in New York City demonstrate why a congressional subcommittee met Thursday to discuss “a national mental health crisis.” Last week, an emotionally disturbed man barricaded himself in a subway motorman’s car, shutting down train service on the rail line... Read More

House GOP Set to Put Trump Defender Stefanik Into No. 3 Post
Congress
House GOP Set to Put Trump Defender Stefanik Into No. 3 Post

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans are ready to vault Rep. Elise Stefanik into the ranks of House leadership, with the party hoping to turn the page from its searing civil war over the deposed Rep. Liz Cheney and refocus on winning control of the chamber in next... Read More

Takeaways: Partisan Discord Instead of Jan. 6 Answers
Congress
Takeaways: Partisan Discord Instead of Jan. 6 Answers

WASHINGTON (AP) — A House hearing about what went wrong in the Jan. 6 Capitol siege frequently spiraled into partisan shouting matches on Wednesday, with lawmakers more often blaming each other than thoroughly questioning witnesses about the events of the day.  Democrats and Republicans have so... Read More

Scrum of Challengers Awaits Cheney After House GOP Ouster
Congress
Scrum of Challengers Awaits Cheney After House GOP Ouster

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — For pro-Trump Republicans, removing Rep. Liz Cheney from House GOP leadership was relatively easy. Booting her from office will be another matter. The rush to punish Cheney for her criticism of former President Donald Trump and his loyalists is drawing a cast... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top