House Dems push improved protections for agency watchdogs
- By Lia Russell
- Apr 10, 2020
House Democrats are planning legislation to protect Inspectors General from political pressure by requiring the President to provide a "good cause" reason for their removal.
On April 10, House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and 21 of their House colleagues sent a letter to Justice Department IG Michael Horowitz asking that he lead the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, of which he is Chair, to provide input on forthcoming legislation that would strengthen guardrails aimed at protecting IGs from partisanship and political pressure.
President Donald Trump's actions firing, reassigning or publicly criticizing multiple IGs in recent days precipitated the letter.
“President Trump has engaged in offensive and unjustified attacks against Inspectors General, criticizing them for following the law, and retaliating against them for telling the truth,” Maloney and Schiff wrote.
Both lawmakers said that Trump had failed to notify Congress 30 days before removing both Fine and Atkinson, as required by law.
"The President's actions not only flout the law, but they signal to other Inspectors General that they could be punished for doing their jobs," the pair wrote in their letter.
On April 8, Maloney introduced legislation amending a recent economic relief bill that would allow Horowitz to appoint any senior executive official serving within an IG office to serve as Chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Panel.
Lia Russell is a staff writer and associate editor at FCW covering the federal workforce. Before joining FCW, she worked as a freelance labor reporter in San Francisco for outlets such SF Weekly, The American Prospect and The Baffler. Russell graduated with a bachelor's degree from Bard College.
Contact Lia at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @LiaOffLeash.