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.

Congress

Defense Analysts Caution Against U.S. Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan
Geopolitics
Defense Analysts Caution Against U.S. Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan
November 20, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Defense analysts warned Congress Friday against the U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan announced this week amid indications that radical Islamists could resume terrorist attacks. They said further proof is needed that Taliban fighters would not try to seize control of Afghanistan before the Trump... Read More

Running to Lead the New Dems, DelBene Reflects on the Coalition’s Past, Promising Future
Congress
Running to Lead the New Dems, DelBene Reflects on the Coalition’s Past, Promising Future
November 20, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - During a week when newly elected members of Congress were all over Capitol Hill for their formal orientation, Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., remembered how vastly different her experience was in 2012. Jay Inslee, the previous representative of Washington State's 1st Congressional District, had decided... Read More

Looking Ahead to Biden Era, Officials Eye Investments in Rail Infrastructure
Congress
Looking Ahead to Biden Era, Officials Eye Investments in Rail Infrastructure
November 20, 2020
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON – The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Material conducted a hearing Wednesday exploring the Surface Transportation Board’s part in developments to the country’s passenger rail system.  During the hearing, executive officials from Metra, Amtrak and the STB gave expert testimony... Read More

Front-Line Workers in Capitol Keep Getting COVID-19
Health
Front-Line Workers in Capitol Keep Getting COVID-19

WASHINGTON — Front-line workers on Capitol Hill are continuing to contract COVID-19. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, 153 legislative branch employees have tested positive or are presumed positive for COVID-19, according to a Democratic aide for the House Administration Committee. This cumulative total, as of Nov. 18, includes 59... Read More

House Democrats Elect Aguilar Caucus Vice Chair, Allred Nabs Leadership Rep Post
Congress
House Democrats Elect Aguilar Caucus Vice Chair, Allred Nabs Leadership Rep Post
November 19, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - House Democrats completed their second of two days of leadership election by elevating Rep. Pete Aguilar of California to the position of caucus vice chair. The 148-82 vote, in which he prevailed over Rep. Robin Kelly of Illinois, makes Aguilar the highest-ranking Latino on... Read More

Doctors Tell Senate Pandemic Deaths Preventable With Early Treatments
Health
Doctors Tell Senate Pandemic Deaths Preventable With Early Treatments
November 19, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Medical experts told a Senate committee Thursday that misguided information about early treatment contributed to giving the United States the world’s highest death rate from coronavirus. Some of them blamed the Food and Drug Administration for halting a treatment they say could have reduced... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top