Senators urge Obama to fill inspectors general posts

January 24, 2013
Sen. Tom Carper being sworn in by Vice President Joseph Biden (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)
Sen. Tom Carper being sworn in by Vice President Joseph Biden (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

A bipartisan group of senators is urging President Obama to quickly  fill vacant inspectors general slots at six agencies.

A letter from members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to Obama says there are vacancies at the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, Labor and State, in addition to  the Agency for International Development.

“Every year, Inspectors General identify billions of dollars in potential savings, including savings from improved management practices and fines and repayments resulting from investigations,” the letter said. “The value of the Inspectors General goes beyond dollars; these offices also help reveal and prosecute wrongdoing, and promote the integrity of government. They provide invaluable support to Congressional budgeting and oversight work.  Inspectors General are an essential component of government oversight.”

The senators were led by committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.), the top Republican on the panel. The letter is an early indication that the bipartisan working relationship the committee exhibited during the last session under former Chairman Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) might continue under the new leadership.

The vacancy at the Department of Homeland Security “is extremely troubling, given that the agency faces many management and budget challenges, and the IG’s office itself faces allegations of misconduct,” the letter said. It also noted that State has not had a permanent inspector general for five years.

E-mail federaldiary@washpost.com

Twitter: @JoeDavidsonWP

Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about the federal workplace that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012.
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