Issa Asks Federal Inspectors General: When Should Taxpayers Expect Implementation of Recommendations?

April 16, 2009

WASHINGTON. D.C. – House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) today, in letters being sent to 73 Federal Inspectors General, asked each Inspector General (IG) to detail:

  • Each open recommendation
  • The estimated monetary benefit associated with each recommendation
  • An estimate of how quickly each recommendation can be implemented

Rep. Issa’s request follows-up on a report issued by former Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and current Chairman Edolphus Towns during the Bush Administration that surveyed unimplemented IG recommendations that, according to their report, “could save taxpayers almost $26 billion” if thousands of recommendations are implemented.

“Unimplemented IG recommendations need to be treated as more than just a legacy of the last Administration.  They are a roadmap for reform of the Federal bureaucracy,” said Rep. Issa.  “Understanding the benefits and a reasonable timeline for implementing each recommendation will add transparency and accountability to problems within our government.”

The text of the letter to the 73 Inspectors General is below:

Dear Inspector General:

In his inaugural address, President Obama stated “[t]hose of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day . . .”  The Committee welcomes the President’s call for accountability and transparency.  We look forward to partnering with the new Administration and your office to proactively identify and excise waste, fraud and abuse in the operations of the federal government.  Working together will allow us to make the government more efficient and to ensure an improved return on investment for the taxpayers.

Early this year, former Chairman Henry A. Waxman and current Chairman Edolphus Towns released a report identifying opportunities for the taxpayers to “save almost $26 billion” by implementing thousands of open inspector general (IG) recommendations.[1]  We would like to better understand how your office plans to address these open recommendations with the new leadership of [each IG’s Department or Agency].

Your office has a mandate to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.  Our Committee is obligated to ensure your office has sufficient resources to fulfill that mandate.  We will also seek to ensure that offices of IGs throughout the government remain neutral watchdogs and are not subject to partisan and political pressure.

We look forward to working with your office during these opening months of the new Administration.  As part of a collaborative effort, we request you provide the Committee with a list identifying each open recommendation, the estimated monetary benefit associated with each recommendation, and an estimate of how quickly each recommendation can be implemented.  The Committee majority’s report, “Inspectors General: Implementing Thousands of Open Recommendations Could Save Taxpayers Almost $26 Billion,” describes taxpayer savings that are significant and immediately accessible.  If this is the case, we appeal to you to support the [IG’s Department or agency] in an effort to realize these savings.

Please reply by May 1, 2009.  We thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Rep. Darrell Issa

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