June 18, 2020

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Inspector General Protections

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today joined Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) to introduce the Securing Inspectors General Independence Act, a bipartisan bill to strengthen protections for inspectors general, including requiring the administration to give Congress a detailed explanation when an inspector general is fired.

The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).

“Independent oversight is critical for our democracy to function,” Senator Feinstein said. “This bill protects inspectors general so they can continue their essential work of stopping waste, fraud and abuse without fear of retaliation. The works of inspectors general should never be politicized, and this bill helps us achieve that goal.”

Since April, President Trump has removed or replaced five inspectors general, including several investigating allegations of misconduct by administration officials. The Securing Inspector General Independence Act would protect inspectors general from politically-motivated removal by:

  • requiring the administration to provide “substantive rationale, including detailed and case-specific reasons” prior to removing an inspector general;
  • limiting the use of administrative leave for inspector generals, including during the 30 days following the removal announcement;
  • requiring acting inspector generals to be selected from senior-level employees within the watchdog community; an
  • requiring regular training for employees on their whistleblower rights to protect the integrity of investigations and audits during a transition between inspectors general.

The Council on Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency was consulted during the bill’s formation.  The bill is endorsed by the National Whistleblower Center, Government Accountability Project and the Partnership for Public Service.

Full text of the bill is available HERE.

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