by Ed Lasky
The least transparent administration in modern history is ignoring bipartisan calls to appoint watchdogs who protect taxpayers and enforce the law. Why?
The Washington Post reports:
A bipartisan group of senators is urging President Obama to quickly fill vacant inspectors general slots at six agencies.
A letter from members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to Obama says there are vacancies at the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, Labor and State, in addition to the Agency for International Development.
"Every year, Inspectors General identify billions of dollars in potential savings, including savings from improved management practices and fines and repayments resulting from investigations," the letter said. "The value of the Inspectors General goes beyond dollars; these offices also help reveal and prosecute wrongdoing, and promote the integrity of government. They provide invaluable support to Congressional budgeting and oversight work. Inspectors General are an essential component of government oversight."
As I have written over the years, Inspectors General are the taxpayers' best friends in Washington. They monitor the operations of federal agencies to ensure laws and regulations are followed, efficiency achieved and fraud and waste are prevented. They also have the potential to embarrass presidents with disclosures that their administrations are poorly managed and that the Presidents appointments are incompetent.
The Senators, who include Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma, a longtime champion of taxpayers), do not - with all due respect - "get" Obama.
President Obama does not want to be "graded." He can depend on a reliably pro-Obama media who has always graded him on a curve. He does not want any Inspectors Generals to monitor what he is doing around the nation and dare have the temerity to disclose problems with his administration.
Therefore, he long ago started a war on Inspectors General who might disclose such scandals as massive waste in Medicare, or fraud and wretched management in Obama's trillion dollar stimulus bill; the manipulation of data and waste in the Troubled Asset relief Program that led to Neil Barofsky ( a lifelong Democrat) being vilified by Obama's staffers; the firing and character assassination of Inspector General Walpin for daring to report that Obama's friend and the mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, was ripping off federal taxpayers by having grantees under that program do such things as wash his car.
President Obama even attempted early in his term ("never let a crisis go to waste") to create a brand new program - along with its $30 billion-dollar budget - that would not be subject to any oversight by any Inspector General (see "Obama, the Chicago Boys, and their $30 Billion Dollar Slush Fund")!
For the same reasons, Obama and his allies in the media and in Washington have long been at war with Congressman Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who has built up a "one-man investigative machine aimed straight at the Obama presidency."
Obama's aversion to criticism is well-known. However, taxpayers who are paying the price for his mismanagement (and worse) need people to represent their interests. These are Inspectors General, who are the Unsung Heroes in Washington.
However, because they serve taxpayers and refuse to become servile under President Obama, they are not heroes to Obama - they are more akin to enemies.
And that is why he has zero interest in filling vacancies in the offices of Inspectors General. Indeed, they may be the only government employees (other than those serving in the military) who President Obama does not want on the government payroll.
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