IG offices have proven to be “vital to bringing accountability to the federal government” but are hampered by leadership vacancies and inadequate resources, a whistleblower advocacy group has said.
“Unfortunately, too many IG positions remain unfilled and lack permanent leadership. As of this writing, 13 of the 73 positions remain unfilled, some of which have been vacant for years,” the Project on Government Oversight report said in a report issued as the 40th anniversary approaches of enactment of the law creating those offices.
Many IG offices “suffer from inconsistent or inadequate budgets” and further must devote some of those resources to comply with the numerous reporting requirements imposed by Congress rather than to potentially higher-impact projects, it said.
Among the recommendations are more consistent leadership; putting a higher priority on national issues such as harm to health, safety, and constitutional rights; and more support of whistleblowers.
It also recommends continued support for giving the IGs the authorities they need to carry out their work; in recent years, lack of cooperation by management with IG investigations and audits has caused Congress to pass several such expansions. One change now pending is a House bill (HR-4917) to authorize IGs to issue subpoenas to persons, including former federal employees, who refuse to cooperate with investigations.