POGO Urges Senate to Strengthen Inspector General Independence

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Keith Rutter
Phone: 202-347-1122
Email: pogo@pogo.org

POGO Urges Senate to Strengthen Inspector General Independence

WASHINGTON - In a letter sent yesterday,
the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) urged the Senate to pass an
amendment to the financial regulatory legislation that will strengthen
the independence of certain Inspectors General (IGs), including those
that serve as watchdogs within many financial regulatory agencies.

The amendment—introduced
by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and co-sponsored by Senator Claire
McCaskill (D-MO)—will fix a provision in the Restoring Financial
Stability Act (S. 3217) that would convert the IGs at several financial
regulatory agencies to presidentially appointed positions. These
watchdogs are currently classified as designated federal entities (DFE) IGs, and are appointed by their agency heads.

Although some believe that these IGs will be able to operate with
greater independence if they are appointed by the President and
confirmed by the Senate, the Grassley amendment offers a better
solution. Instead of converting them to presidentially appointed
positions, the amendment will require all DFE IGs—including the
financial agency watchdogs—to report to the entire board or commission
at their agencies. Additionally, the amendment requires a two-thirds
vote of the entire board or commission in order to remove a DFE IG,
making it virtually impossible for any one individual agency head to
unilaterally remove an IG for political reasons.

Testifying before Congress last year, POGO provided additional recommendations
for strengthening the independence of financial agency IGs, such as
giving them the authority to subpoena documents and testimony from the
private entities regulated by their agencies.

POGO also sent a letter yesterday in support of an amendment
introduced by Senator McCaskill and co-sponsored by Senator Grassley
that will improve coordination between financial agency IGs by
connecting them through a new Council of Inspectors General on
Financial Oversight (CIGFO).

"As the country continues to reel from the financial crisis, it's
imperative that we have strong, independent watchdogs in place to
ensure that financial regulatory agencies are acting in the public's
best interest," said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian. "The
Grassley and McCaskill amendments will help give IGs the authority and
independence they need to hold financial regulators accountable."

 

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The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open and honest federal government.

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