Inspectors General Need to Be Taken Seriously

 

The Inspectors General are probably the most underappreciated and underrated people in the federal government.

The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) was statutorily established as an independent entity within the executive branch. Since then it has been instrumental in identifying fraud, waste, mismanagement, and abuse, as well as developing policies to deal with those problems. As part of the office of the Inspectors General, the Office of Evaluations and Special Projects was created in 2014 to oversee the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012. This gives them the following mandate:

ESP is also responsible for reviewing allegations of administrative misconduct by senior officials, and issuing management alerts to highlight urgent need for corrective actions and capping reports on thematic areas of concern. Additionally, ESP is responsible for special evaluations and reviews, including responses to congressional inquiries. The work of this new office complements the work of OIG’s audits, investigations, and inspections by developing a capacity to focus on broader, systemic issues.

Two of the most high-profile investigations that have taken place in recent years include the discovery of 6,400 emails either to or from Lois Lerner of the IRS, and the recent discovery of thousands of text messages that “disappeared,” originally generated by Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The tenacity and findings of the Inspectors General across departments are to be lauded; unfortunately, action on those findings has been sadly lacking.

The federal government prohibits political activity in the practicing of one’s duties:

4.1 Prohibition against political activity.

No person employed in the executive branch of the Federal Government, or any agency or department thereof, shall use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with an election or affecting the result thereof. No person occupying a position in the competitive service shall take any active part in political management or in political campaigns, except as may be provided by or pursuant to statute. All such persons shall retain the right to vote as they may choose and to express their opinions on all political subjects and candidates.

As a layperson looking at the Lois Lerner activities, as well as the more recent Strzok/Page situation, the following statements describe at least three violations:

Use official authority or influence to interfere with an election;

Solicit or discourage political activity of anyone with business before their agency;

Engage in political activity while on duty, in a government office, wearing an official uniform or using a government vehicle.

Since the evidence is clear that there has minimally been mismanagement and potentially extreme political bias in the execution of their duties, how can Congress ignore these actions? When will they condemn these activities and insist that they be held accountable? Why bother to have an Inspectors General Agency if there are not consequences for malfeasance?

It seems to me that we have the tools we need to prosecute individuals who blatantly defy federal law. Under President Obama, people chose to defy these restrictions and were essentially allowed to do so. Don’t you think it’s time for Trump, Sessions, and the DOJ to clean house?

There are 16 comments.

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  1. George Townsend Inactive
    George Townsend
    @GeorgeTownsend

    Susan Quinn: Don’t you think it’s time for Trump, Sessions, and the DOJ to clean house?

    Yes I do, Susan. This is a terrific Post. I congratulate you. And I have to say this: You make one of points for me: Instead of satisfying himself with meaningless tweets, President Trump should be using the powers he already has. Since he is new to government, and probably doesn’t know about these laws and edifices, he should be asking if there anything that can be done to, as you put it, Clean House. This is why I say policy is not enough. Stop wasting time on satisfying your ego, Mr. President, and get to work!

    • #1
  2. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    Congress is too divided to address these actions and I’m not sure it is their baliwick. The White House is busy undoing the damage Obama did. But Sessions should have already been hard at work on these items. Letting scoff laws get away with this kind of thing just encourages future misdeeds. But I doubt we’ll see any action unless the Russia probe gets finished without charges being filed against anyone named Trump. That may be a major reason this investigation is being dragged out so long but if so it is only one of the reasons.

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    OkieSailor (View Comment):
    But Sessions should have already been hard at work on these items. Letting scoff laws get away with this kind of thing just encourages future misdeeds.

    I agree. But what if the Russian probe goes on for years? Isn’t there a statute of limitations? Won’t Lois Lerner be beyond prosecution. Not only that, there is plenty of information that has been collected by the IG that should be relevant to the Russian probe. We just don’t hear about it. I’m sure I speak for both of us when I say that someone should be considering it.

    • #3
  4. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Of course the text message loss was system-wide.  If I were so inept as to make only the Stzrok/Page text messages disappear, I should be fired for incompetence.

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Of course the text message loss was system-wide. If I were so inept as to make only the Stzrok/Page text messages disappear, I should be fired for incompetence.

    When we see the arrogance of so many on the Left, thinking they can get away with almost anything, who knows what’s possible? Good point, though, @randywebster .

    • #5
  6. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Why are Strozk and Page still on the payroll?  Doesn’t an extra-marital affair qualify as blackmail bait for FBI people?  Their dismissals should have been prompt and inevitable.

    • #6
  7. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Almost no one in the federal government is ever held to be accountable for their actions.  Accountability is for the peons.  Even if they get fired, they’ll still probably collect their pensions.

    • #7
  8. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Daniel Greenfield argues that we are in a civil war.

    But it’s not guns that make a civil war. It’s politics.

    Guns are how a civil war ends. Politics is how it begins.

    How do civil wars happen?

    Two or more sides disagree on who runs the country. And they can’t settle the question through elections because they don’t even agree that elections are how you decide who’s in charge.

    That’s the basic issue here. Who decides who runs the country? When you hate each other but accept the election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war.

    Angelo Codevilla’s essays America’s Ruling Class and the Perils of Revolution

    and After the Republic are relevant. From the first:

    The [new American ruling class and its subjects] have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century’s Northerners and Southerners — nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, “prayed to the same God.” By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God “who created and doth sustain us,” our ruling class prays to itself as “saviors of the planet” and improvers of humanity. Our classes’ clash is over “whose country” America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what. The gravity of such divisions points us, as it did Lincoln, to Mark’s Gospel: “if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

    From the latter:

    Moreover, since the Kennedy reform of 1965, and with greater speed since 2009, the ruling class’s immigration policy has changed the regime by introducing some 60 million people—roughly a fifth of our population—from countries and traditions different from, if not hostile, to ours. Whereas earlier immigrants earned their way to prosperity, a disproportionate percentage of post-1965 arrivals have been encouraged to become dependents of the state. Equally important, the ruling class chose to reverse America’s historic practice of assimilating immigrants, emphasizing instead what divides them from other Americans. Whereas Lincoln spoke of binding immigrants by “the electric cord” of the founders’ principles, our ruling class treats these principles as hypocrisy. All this without votes or law; just power….

    There are Republican fingerprints all over this as well. The consequence:

    We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end. Our ruling class’s malfeasance, combined with insult, brought it about. Donald Trump did not cause it and is by no means its ultimate manifestation. Regardless of who wins in 2016, this revolution’s sentiments will grow in volume and intensity, and are sure to empower politicians likely to make Americans nostalgic for Donald Trump’s moderation.

    Revolution. Civil War. Which side is the FBI’s top brass on?

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):
    Why are Strozk and Page still on the payroll? Doesn’t an extra-marital affair qualify as blackmail bait for FBI people? Their dismissals should have been prompt and inevitable.

    Couldn’t agree more, Doctor. At the very least they should be fired without a pension. It will be interesting to see what happens if this darn Russian probe ever ends.

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end. Our ruling class’s malfeasance, combined with insult, brought it about. Donald Trump did not cause it and is by no means its ultimate manifestation. Regardless of who wins in 2016, this revolution’s sentiments will grow in volume and intensity, and are sure to empower politicians likely to make Americans nostalgic for Donald Trump’s moderation.

    Love this quote, @ontheleftcoast. It’s pretty clear which side the FBI top brass are on. Unfortunately, I think we are already on the losing side. But it’s not over–do you see the possibility that things will shift? After all, revolutions are pretty unpredictable.

    • #10
  11. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    I would like to see the Offices of the Inspectors General taken seriously, but too often the individuals in those offices are subject to the same political pressures and questionable selection procedures (cronyism) as other federal employees.  Another consistent issue is delays in filling vacant positions.  This leads to the position being filled by those in “Acting” status for rather lengthy periods who may or may not be up to the job and who have an incentive to curry favor to get the full time appointment.

    • #11
  12. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Unfortunately, I think we are already on the losing side. But it’s not over–do you see the possibility that things will shift? After all, revolutions are pretty unpredictable.

    For certain definitions of shift, sure.

    There’s a debt crisis hanging over our heads. There are reports that in 2017, for the first time in over 50 years, the debt:GCP ratio shrank. I don’t know if we can grow our way out of the debt bubble, but we sure as heck can’t do it without growth.

    Many if not most state and local pension systems are basically a Ponzi scheme, and so is Social Security for that matter.

    I’m 65. I won’t be surprised if the USA splits up in my lifetime.

    That might be the least bad possibility. Imagine California if the Dems plans come to fruition, and imagine the whole country like that.

    California, you ask?

    —————————-

    Governor Brown Vindicated!

    Oroville dam disaster was caused by (the Democrat’s plans to deal with) global warming!

    Just ignore what’s inthe parentheses.

    Remember the Oroville, CA dam spill last winter? The cost of fixing it and cleaning it up is approaching $1 billion.

    Trump promised help, of course, with an executive order that would ordinarily pave the way for the Federal government to pay most of the costs.

    That was then:

     

    But that was before California was hammered for alleged gross mismanagement and fraudulent concealment following the Jan. 15 release of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report, “Independent Forensic Team Report Oroville Spillway Incident.” Referring to the state’s safety culture as “immature,” the summary stated:

    The Oroville Dam spillway incident was caused by a long-term systemic failure of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), regulatory, and general industry practices to recognize and address the inherent spillway design and construction weaknesses, poor bedrock quality and deteriorated service spillway chute conditions.

    But wait, there’s more: Governor Brown, by executive order, mandated that state agencies prioritize global warming planning over infrastructure repair.

    Just three days later, the City of Oroville sued the state for a range of costs between $500 million to $1 billion. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Carolyn Frank, a partner with Huber of Cota Cole and Huber, LLP, representing the city, stated, “You’re looking at major damages that are going to come out of your pocket as a taxpayer.”

    It is expected that the independent forensic report will also serve as prima facia evidence for civil liability and fraud claims against the State of California for allegedly using global warming theories regarding hundred-year droughts to justify re-programming spending for water infrastructure maintenance on other political priorities, such as high-speed-rail. [emphasis added]

    And every new California drivers license issued to a person of voting age — U.S. citizen or not, in California legally or not, will come with voter registration at no extra charge.

     

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I would like to see the Offices of the Inspectors General taken seriously, but too often the individuals in those offices are subject to the same political pressures and questionable selection procedures (cronyism) as other federal employees.

    You are correct, of course, @hoyacon. They may be subject to those pressures, but I’m not aware of anyone who has given in to the pressures. It has to be extraordinarily difficult not to, though.

    • #13
  14. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I would like to see the Offices of the Inspectors General taken seriously, but too often the individuals in those offices are subject to the same political pressures and questionable selection procedures (cronyism) as other federal employees.

    You are correct, of course, @hoyacon. They may be subject to those pressures, but I’m not aware of anyone who has given in to the pressures. It has to be extraordinarily difficult not to, though.

    There’s certainly a danger of painting with too broad a brush here, and I want to avoid that.  So, some food for thought here, here, and here.

    POGO may lean left, but I’ve found them reputable.

    And, while a bit long in the tooth, the tale of Janet Rehnquist remains cautionary where appointments are concerned.

    • #14
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I would like to see the Offices of the Inspectors General taken seriously, but too often the individuals in those offices are subject to the same political pressures and questionable selection procedures (cronyism) as other federal employees.

    You are correct, of course, @hoyacon. They may be subject to those pressures, but I’m not aware of anyone who has given in to the pressures. It has to be extraordinarily difficult not to, though.

    There’s certainly a danger of painting with too broad a brush here, and I want to avoid this. So, some food for thought here, here, and here.

    POGO may lean left, but I’ve found them reputable.

    And, while a bit long in the tooth, the tale of Janet Rehnquist remains cautionary where appointments are concerned.

    Wow, both impressive and discouraging. I especially liked this statement in the last POGO paragraphs:

    Thus, some agency whistleblowers have been rightfully fearful and apprehensive about working with their IGs. This highlights why it’s so important for Congress to watch the watchdogs, facilitate interactions between IGs and agencies, and keep IGs accountable.

    POGO has worked for years to improve the IG system and support legislation to make IGs both more independent and accountable. Both of these qualities are needed for IGs to be most effective. The PPS report and the discussions it is encouraging are helpful steps toward assisting the IGs, agencies, and Congress better “walk the line between improving agency programs and operations, and respecting each other’s needs and concerns.”

    Thanks, Hoyacon. I wonder if we also need oversight for POGO!  ;-)

    • #15
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    “Today the Washington Post reports the DOJ IG has been focused on a period of three weeks in the fall of 2016. That’s when FBI agents in New York, who were looking into Anthony Weiner’s sexting habits, discovered his laptop held a batch of Hillary Clinton’s work-related emails. FBI headquarters was notified and, according to some, that’s when everything seemed to grind to a halt for several weeks on McCabe’s desk.”

    The Inspector General at work . . .

     

    • #16

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