June 11,2009

Grassley calls on administration to safeguard independence of Inspectors General

WASHINGTON --- Senator Chuck Grassley is urging the administration to follow the letter and spirit of the law, which the President co-sponsored as legislation as a U.S. senator in 2007, regarding the dismissal of the Inspector General for the AmeriCorps program, after reports last night that administration officials gave the watchdog an hour to resign or be terminated.

Grassley said it looks like the White House is today modifying its stance and saying that last night’s ultimatum started the 30-day notification clock. “Either way, it looks like the letter and spirit of the law Congress passed last year to try to safeguard the independence of Inspectors General from the heavy hand of the executive branch that it’s supposed to oversee might have been circumvented,” he said.

Grassley has worked for many years to empower Inspectors General to act as effective watchdogs for taxpayers and federal program beneficiaries. He’s also worked to hold Inspectors General accountable when they’ve failed to fulfill the responsibilities of the role. Grassley has conducted extensive and active oversight of the federal bureaucracy.

“The importance of constant, independent review of the work of federal agencies has been proven again and again, and Inspectors General are a key part of that effort,” Grassley said. “Congress recognized the need for independence when it passed the reform legislation last year requiring congressional notification 30 days prior to removal. Inspectors General need to know they have independence and won’t be removed for arbitrary reasons. The public needs confidence that the watchdogs can hold the bureaucracy accountable.”

The text of Grassley’s letter to the President is attached in the Printer-Friendly Version.