The groups expressed their concerns about what's next in a letter to President Biden.

The groups expressed their concerns about what's next in a letter to President Biden. Alex Brandon / AP

Oversight Groups Express Concern About Future of the Housing Finance Agency IG Office 

Three wrote to the president following the IG’s resignation announcement. 

Three nonprofit organizations are calling on President Biden to take action to restore confidence and morale at the Federal Housing Finance Agency inspector general office following the IG’s upcoming resignation. 

Last week, the embattled FHFA IG Laura Wertheimer told her staff she plans to resign effective July 30. She was under fire from the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency’s Integrity Committee and Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who sent letters to President Biden on April 14 and 28, respectively, about their separate investigations into top leadership at the FHFA IG office regarding whistleblower complaints starting in 2017. However, her attorney has pushed back on the allegations and she did not cite those reports as the reason for her departure, but rather praised what her office has accomplished. 

On Wednesday, the groups Empower Oversight, the Government Accountability Project and the Project on Government Oversight sent a letter, shared with Government Executive, to Biden with concerns about what’s next for the office. 

The CIGIE investigation “exposed the FHFA IG’s ‘fostering a culture of witness intimidation through a pattern of staff abuse and fear of retaliation.’ That culture and resistance to scrutiny of it was enforced through [Wertheimer’s] senior staff...both of whom the [Integrity Committee] also recommended ‘be subject to appropriate disciplinary action,’” said the letter. “Yet none of them have been held accountable.”

The groups noted that Wertheimer will be able to choose her successor, who will serve in an acting capacity until the president nominates and the Senate confirms a permanent replacement, and they have concerns about who the acting leader will be. 

“Only you can supersede the FHFA IG’s reported succession plan to install a responsible temporary leader until a Senate-confirmed replacement is in place,” said the letter. Also, “in order to restore public confidence in the FHFA IG, it is essential that you designate a caretaker to oversee the office and break the culture of fear and intimidation found by the Integrity Committee.” This will help restore the public’s confidence in the watchdog office, the letter added.

The groups reiterated what Biden said on his first day in office about how the people working for him must treat their colleagues with dignity and respect. 

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