The central council of agency IGs has issued a statement of priorities for IG operations, including several aimed at improving their access to information and protecting them from interference that would require changes in law.
The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency recommended strengthening existing law giving IGs “full and timely access to all agency information,” saying that agencies sometimes deny such access regardless of the law. In some cases Congress has responded with specific provisions affecting individual agencies but the council requested a government-wide guarantee.
It also recommended that when a vacancy opens in the top position, the second-ranking official be made the acting IG by default—rather than the current practice which allows the White House to install a political appointee—and that Congress be notified in advance of an IG being transferred, fired, or put on forced leave.
Other requests include the power to subpoena testimony from persons who have left federal employment but have information pertinent to an investigation; authority to continue IG operations during any lapse in agency appropriations; strengthening a law providing for penalties for false claims and false statements; and streamlining duplicative reporting requirements for IGs.
Many similar proposals have been introduced in Congress in recent years but have fallen short of enactment.