“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 Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) and Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.), the top Republican on the panel.
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,” according to the letter. It also noted that the State Department has not had a permanent inspector general for five years.
The letter is an early indication that the bipartisan working relationship the committee exhibited during the past session under former chairman Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) might continue under the new leadership. The committee oversees federal workplace issues, among other matters.
Getting the message out
The Broadcasting Board of Governors has taken a lot of hits recently, the latest from one of its own.
When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday to discuss last year’s attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, she said the government must “do a better job conveying a counternarrative to the extremist jihadist narrative,” according to a CNN transcript.
“[W]e’re not doing what we did during the Cold War. Our Broadcasting Board of Governors is practically defunct in terms of its capacity to be able to tell a message around the world,” said Clinton, an ex-officio member of the board.
“So we’re abdicating the ideological arena, and we need to get back into it.”
The BBG oversees the government’s international broadcasting operations. A report issued last week by the State Department’s inspector general’s office called the board “dysfunctional.” Reports going back several years also have been very critical of the BBG.
Clinton urged the committee to “pay attention to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is in desperate need of assistance, intervention and change.”
A statement from the board said many government broadcasters “are extraordinarily well-funded, and none of them has a mandate like the BBG’s, bringing unbiased news and information to more than 100 countries in 59 languages — and on a shrinking budget even as the need for our services continues to grow.”