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Letter to President Obama - Nominate Full-Time IG

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

In a letter to President Barack Obama on Monday, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, called for the nomination of permanent Inspectors General at the State Department and USAID to provide accountability and prevent wasteful spending at both agencies. On Monday a nomination was made for a permanent IG at USAID, but the position remains vacant at the State Department. The letter to the president was also signed by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

"We are deeply concerned that the two lead agencies carrying out the international programs and activities of the United States, the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), have been operating without permanent Inspectors General for a considerable period of time. The Department of State has not had an Inspector General since 2008 and USAID has had a vacancy since 2011. Inspectors General play a crucial role in identifying ineffective programs, process weaknesses, and wasteful spending that undermine public confidence in government," wrote the senators in their letter to President Obama.

A complete copy of the letter is included below

June 10, 2013

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania A venue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:

We are deeply concerned that the two lead agencies carrying out the international programs and activities of the United States, the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), have been operating without permanent Inspectors General for a considerable period of time. The Department of State has not had an Inspector General since 2008 and USAID has had a vacancy since 2011. Inspectors General play a crucial role in identifying ineffective programs, process weaknesses, and wasteful spending that undermine public confidence in government.

It is critical that your administration provide this committee with highly qualified nominees who can function independently and objectively in these positions in the near future. In a recent hearing before this committee, Secretary Kerry testified that he would like to see the Department of State's Inspector General vacancy filled quickly and noted that the White House had recently selected a highly qualified nominee. It has been over a month since that hearing and we await the nomination.

It is vitally important that the Inspectors General are able to function independently and objectively. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has, since 2007, documented the lack of adherence to proper auditing standards and the lack of independence and autonomy within the Department of State's Office of Inspector General (OIG). In particular, GAO has noted that the Office is led by "management and Foreign Service officials [, which] is not consistent with professional standards for independence;" the "use of Foreign Service Officers ... to lead OIG inspections resulted in, at a minimum, the appearance of independence impairment;" and the "OIG relied on inspections rather than audits to provide oversight coverage resulting in gaps to the audit oversight of the department." It is imperative that the next Inspector General at the Department of State resolves these matters and protects the independence and credibility of the OIG.

The committee stands ready to assist your administration in any way it reasonably can to fill these vacancies.

We appreciate your attention to this important issue.

Sincerely,

Robert Menendez
Chairman

Bob Corker
Ranking Member


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