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Inspectors General Warn That Trump Administration Cuts Could Threaten Their Mission

May 12, 2017
Press Release

Inspectors General Warn That Trump Administration Cuts Could Threaten Their Mission

 

Washington, D.C. (May 11, 2017)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released a memo detailing the results of a survey of Inspectors General (IGs) at two dozen agencies conducted by Democratic Committee staff.

“With Republicans now in control of the White House, Senate, and House, Inspectors General are one of the last backstops the American people have to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse at federal agencies,” Cummings said.  “This new evidence demonstrates that the President’s restrictions on hiring will harm the American people by preventing IGs from carrying out their vital mission.”

In response to the Democratic staff survey, IGs raised serious concerns about the strain on their capabilities imposed by President Trump’s hiring freeze and his proposed staffing reductions going forward.  For example:

  •          The Department of the Treasury IG reported that staffing freezes “will put Treasury at risk of increased fraud and other criminal activity.”
  •          The Department of State IG reported that it faces “staffing challenges in our oversight of [O]peration [I]nherent [R]esolve and [O]peration [F]reedom [S]entinel, the US efforts to defeat ISIL and the Taliban, respectively.”
  •          The Department of Education IG reported:  “we will have to significantly increase our financial loss threshold for commencing an investigation; prosecutions and recoveries may be reduced due to the reduction in investigative staff and the number of cases that they can handle; and planned proactive work may have to be put on hold.”
  •          The Department of the Interior IG reported:  “The opportunity to have greater impact with oversight in Indian Country, cyber security, and fraud in the Oil and Gas royalty are simply not possible at our current levels.”
  •          The Department of Transportation IG reported that, in light of potential new spending on infrastructure, “the likely result would be DOT OIG pulling staff from other high priority areas in order to meet the challenges inherent with that new investment.  Such a redirection of existing DOT OIG resources could delay our efforts to meet other congressional mandates.”
  •          The Environmental Protection Agency IG reported that budget cuts “will degrade our ability to safeguard scarce taxpayer resources and compromise our effectiveness in addressing complaints and inquiries from our customers, including Congress and the American people.”  The IG also warned that budget cuts could “[h]inder significantly our ability to exchange protective intelligence information with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service and Marshal’s Service, which would delay the apprehension of criminals.”
  •          The Department of Defense IG reported that investigations of sexual assaults could be compromised:  “Timely resolution of these complaints will suffer, sexual assault victims’ confidence in the system could be eroded, and military readiness may ultimately be undermined.”  The IG also reported that the Pentagon “annually spends approximately $300 billion to fund acquisition contract[s] which, if we cannot obtain the requested audit personnel, may face limited or no audit oversight due to other priority missions.”

Click here and to read the memo.

 

 

115th Congress