House committee votes to give IGs fixed terms

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved legislation designed to better insulate government inspector generals from political retribution by giving them fixed seven-year terms.

The Improving Government Act (H.R. 928), which was sponsored by Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., cleared the committee on a voice vote with no audible dissent.

Under the bill, the internal agency watchdogs, who now serve at the pleasure of their appointing authorities, could be fired before the end of the terms only for cause, based on such factors as malfeasance, permanent disability, inefficiency, neglect of duty, or conviction of a felony.

Under an amendment offered by Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., heads of agencies would have to give Congress a written explanation of decisions to remove or transfer IGs 30 days in advance of the actions. The measure was also approved on a voice vote.

The bill would also authorize IGs to send copies of their budget requests to Congress to deter officials in their respective agencies from slashing their funding in retaliation for unfavorable audits.

In addition, the legislation would authorize $750,000 for the creation of a government wide IG council to give the watchdogs a unified voice and develop a "best practices" guide for audits.

"IGs have a very difficult job, partly because they serve so many masters," said House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., "They are appointed by the president but report to Congress as well as the head of their agency. As independent investigators within federal agencies, they are often the last person a manager wants to hear from."

In 2006 alone, recommendations from IG offices resulted in potential savings of $9.9 billion and criminal recoveries of $6.8 billion, according to Waxman. Fifty-seven federal agencies are currently authorized to have the watchdogs.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.