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Regarding Inspector General of Commodity Futures Trading Commission

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Location: Washington, DC


REGARDING INSPECTOR GENERAL OF COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION -- (House of Representatives - September 24, 2008)

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Mr. DAVIS of Virginia. Madam Speaker, today, we take up H.R. 6406, which elevates the Inspector General of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to an Inspector General position requiring a Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation, PAS positions.

This legislation does not come to the floor through regular order--and while I understand the need to move quickly to ensure we have solid oversight from an independent source at the CFTC, this bill could have benefited from a review by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Recommendation 6 of Paul Volcker's National Commission on the Public Service, issued in January 2003 is, and I quote, ``Congress and the President should work together to significantly reduce the number of executive branch political positions.''

The Commission noted that President Kennedy had 286 leadership positions to fill when he became President in 1960; that by the end of the Clinton administration, there were 914 principal leadership positions; and that, in 2001, the new President George W. Bush confronted a total of 3,361 offices to be filled by political appointment.

The Commission pointed to several reasons for this--mostly due to a bad Federal management structure. But I think much of this--and let's focus on IGs here--stems from an assumption that the PAS process generates a more professional and independent Inspector General.

I see little evidence this is true. I don't think anyone has successfully demonstrated a nexus between the PAS process and professional excellence.

Since we already have too many PAS positions and I doubt the next President and the next Congress will take the Volcker Commission's Recommendation 6 to heart, large gaps will continue to occur in leadership during Presidential transitions.

With that said, however, I am inclined to support this bill given the current crisis we face. But I caution my colleagues to pay more attention to these ``elevation bills'' in the future and insist on a specific, articulated need for any proposed change.

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