A top Democrat on Thursday called for greater scrutiny of 41 small federal agencies that have no dedicated inspectors general to provide oversight.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight, asked her colleagues on the panel during a hearing to help draft legislation that could address the issue.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). (AP/J. Scott Applewhite).

McCaskill noted that the small agencies have a combined budget of $1 billion. “When there is no oversight and no accountability, money gets wasted and mismanagement goes unaddressed,” she said.

The Democrat questioned the existing practice of allowing the agencies to hire outside auditors to evaluate their financial statements, suggesting that the arrangement could result in conflicts of interest. “I don’t know how you can be independent … if you owe your job to the head of the agency,” she said.

McCaskill said she wants the government to consider consolidating inspectors general offices that have less than six full-time staffers and assigning some of the larger IG offices to oversee agencies that do not currently receive oversight.

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