The Washington Post

GSA scandals shows watchdogs needed

Christy Romero, newly confirmed Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP). (Andrew Harrer/BLOOMBERG)

But the Project on Government Oversight noted this week that, with the addition of the Department of Labor over the holiday weekend, there are now four agencies in the prized watchdog community’s “1,000-day vacancy club.”

The oldest member of the esteemed club is the State Department, where there’s been no confirmed inspector general for more than 1,500 days. The Interior Department is next oldest, trailing State by about 400 days, POGO reports, and the Corporation for National and Community Service just last month qualified for membership the 1,000-day vacancy club.

Having Senate-confirmed — as opposed to ”acting” — IG’s in place is important if taxpayers are to have even a modicum of confidence in the ability of government to protect against waste, fraud and abuse.

As Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) notes, “Even the best acting inspector lacks the standing to make lasting changes needed to improve his or her office.”

It is inexcusable, as POGO says, that these jobs are vacant and that there’s not even a nominee for the State Department job.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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