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IssatoIGs

IssatoIGs

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Published by Timothy Smith
Darrell Issa's letter to the 73 federal inspectors general requesting they loop congress into their investigations.
Darrell Issa's letter to the 73 federal inspectors general requesting they loop congress into their investigations.

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: Timothy Smith on Aug 06, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/16/2013

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August3,2012Mr.MichaelG.CarrollActingInspectorGeneralU.S.AgencyforInternationalDevelopment1300PennsylvaniaAvenueNWWashington,D.C.20523DearMr.Carroll:TheCommitteeonOversightandGovernmentReform,liketherestofCongress,reliesonthecommunityofinspectorsgeneraltobringmatterstoourattentionthatmayrequireadditionaloversightorinvestigation.WithoutpromptaccesstoinformationaboutseriousorflagrantissuesatExecutiveBranchdepartmentsandagencies,Congresscannotusethefullrangeoftoolsatitsdisposaltopreventfurtherwaste,fraud,orabuse.TheGeneralServicesAdministration(GSA)conferencescandalofferedlessonsabouttheimportanceofmakingCongressawareofseriousissuesassoonaspossible.HadCongressbeenmadeawareofthewasteandexcessassociatedwithGSA's2010conferenceinLasVegassooner,wemighthavevieweddifferentlytheannualappropriationsbillthatincreasedGSA'sbudgetauthoritybymorethan$410million.
1
Withthatinmind,IamwritingtoclarifytheCommittee'sexpectationsfortimelyreportingofinformationaboutseriousorflagrantissues.OnApril16,2012,theCommitteeheldahearingentitled"AssessingGSA'sCultureofWastefulSpending."ThehearingexploredallegationsofmisconductoutlinedinareportissuedbyGSAInspectorGeneralBrianMilleronApril2,2012.Miller'sreport-whichfocusedonexcessivespendingrelatedtoa2010GSAconferenceheldinLasVegas-broughtthisveryseriousmattertotheattentionofCongressforthefirsttime.Thesameday,GSAAdministratorMarthaJohnsonresigned.MillersubsequentlymadeacriminalreferralofthemattertotheDepartmentofJustice.AsofApril2,2012,agencyleadershiphadbeenawareoftheIG'sinvestigationfornearlyayear.TheWhiteHouseknewoftheIG'sinvestigationasearlyasMay2011.Meanwhile,Congressremainedinthedark.
I
See
ConsolidatedAppropriationsAct,FY2012,P.L.112-74(HR.2055)(Dec,23,2011).
 
Mr.MichaelG.CarrollAugust3,2012Page2Section5(d)oftheInspectorGeneralActrequirestheinspectorsgeneraltoreportparticularlyflagrantproblemstoCongressthroughtheagencyheadwithinsevendaysviawhathasbecomeknownasa"seven-dayletter.,,2Theseven-dayletterhasbeenusedsparingly.'
It
hasbecomeatooloflastresort,oftenusedtoleverageagencyleadershipintotakingaction.
4
Oftenthemerediscussionoftheuseofaseven-dayletterwithmanagementresultsinneededactions,withouttheneedtoactuallyissuetheletter.Inthosecases,Congressmayneverlearnoftheissuesthatledtoconsiderationofaseven-dayletter.Goingforward,itismyexpectationthatyouwillinformCongressaboutseriousorflagrantproblemsatyouragency-likethoseatGSA-muchearlier.CongressincludedlanguageintheIGActdesignedtoencouragepromptandfrequentcommunication.TheIGActprovidesforadditionalchannelsforIGstocommunicatewiththeagencyheadandCongress.Section4requiresinspectorsgeneraltotakethefollowingsteps:IT]
0
keeptheheadofsuchestablishmentandCongressfullyandcurrentlyinformed,bymeansofthereportsrequiredbysection5andothenvise,concerningfraudandotherseriousproblems,abuses,anddeficienciesrelatingtotheadministrationofprogramsandoperationsadministeredorfinancedbysuchestablishment,torecommendcorrectiveactionconcerningsuchproblems,abuses,anddeficiencies,andtoreportontheprogressmadeinimplementingsuchcorrectiveaction.'TheconceptofkeepingtheheadoftheagencyandCongressinformedbyreportsand"otherwise"allowsforavarietyofmechanismsbywhichtheinspectorgeneralorstaffcancommunicatewithCongressaboutseriousproblems.RatherthanusethespecterofcommunicationwithCongressforleverage,inspectorsgeneralshouldproactivelyprovideinformationdirectlytoMembersofCongress,itscommitteesandsubcommittees,congressionalstaff,andotherstakeholders.CongressreliesontimelyinformationsuppliedbythelOstolegislateeffectively.Assuch,IendeavortoestablishanunderstandingbetweenCongressandthe10communitywherebyinformationaboutseriousorflagrantproblemsiscommunicatedpromptly.Insomecases,certainseriousorflagrantproblemsaboutwhichCongressexpectspromptreportingmightimplicatenationalsecurityorprivacyconcerns.Ratherthanwidelycirculatereportsinthesecases,youshouldcommunicatethemattertotherespectiveChairmenandRankingMembersoftheagency'sauthorizingcommitteesintheHouseofRepresentativesandtheSenate,theHouseCommitteeonOversightandGovernmentReform,andtheSenateCommitteeonHomelandSecurityandGovernmentalAffairs.Thisprotocolismodeledonthe
25
U.S.C.App.§5(d).
3
GAO-I1-770,"InspectorsGeneral:ReportingonIndependence,Effectiveness,andExpertise,"Sept.20II,at8-9.
In
September2011,GAOreportedthatonlyoneof62IGssurveyedhadusedtheseven-dayletteratanytimeduringfiscalyears2008,2009,and20I
o.
In1999,GAOreportedthatnoIGshadusedtheseven-dayletterduringtheperiodfromJanuary1990throughApril1998.
id.
s5U.S.C.App.§4(a)(5)(emphasisadded).
 
Mr.MichaelG.CarrollAugust3,2012Page3"GangofEight"systemforallowingthePresidenttoreporttoCongressaboutcovertintelligenceactivities.
6
SothattheCommitteecanbetterunderstandhowseven-daylettersareviewedbytheIGcommunityanddevelopamoreclearunderstandingofCongress'sexpectationforpromptreportingofseriousorflagrantproblems,pleaseprovidewrittenresponsestothefollowingquestions:1.SinceJanuary1,2009,haveyouissuedanyseven-dayletters?Ifyes,pleasedescribethemattersinvolved.2.SinceJanuary1,2009,havetherebeenanyseriousorflagrantproblemsatyouragencythatwerenotreportedtoCongress?
If
yes,pleasedescribethemattersandexplainwhyCongresswasnotinformed.3.Pleaseexplainwhatyouandyourstaffunderstandsection4(a)(5)oftheIGActtorequire,TheCommitteeonOversightandGovernmentReformistheprincipaloversightcommitteeoftheHouseofRepresentativesandmayat"anytime"investigate"anymatter"assetforthinHouseRuleX.Ifyouhaveanyquestionsaboutthisrequest,pleasecontactJonathanSkladanyorJessicaDonlonoftheCommitteeStaffat(202)225-5074.Thankyouforyourattentiontothismatter.cc:TheHonorableElijahE.Cummings,RankingMinorityMember
6
ThePresidentisrequiredto"ensurethatthecongressionalintelligencecommitteesarekeptfullyandcurrentlyinformedoftheintelligenceactivitiesoftheUnitedStates."50U.S.C.§413(a)(1).
In
casesinwhichthePresidentbelieves"itisessentialtolimitaccess"toinformationaboutacovertaction,however,hemayelecttoreportinsteadtoaselectgroupofcongressionalleadersknownasthe"GangofEight,"consistingoftheSpeakeroftheHouse,HouseMinorityLeader,SenateMajorityLeader,SenateMinorityLeader,ChairmanandRankingMemberoftheHousePermanentSelectCommitteeonIntelligence,andChairmanandRankingMemberoftheSenateSelectCommitteeonIntelligence.
ld.
§413b(c)(2).

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Tom McKinney added this note|
Congressman Issa, Thank you for your service, Tom McKinney, Dunwoody, Georgia

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