Skip to main content

tv   Role of Inspectors General Effectiveness  CSPAN  June 16, 2018 5:09pm-6:13pm EDT

5:09 pm
experience at this panel in both congress and the ig community. it has been very helpful, very eliminating. i think they did a great job. [applause] we also want to thank the audience for your attention and attending this morning. i am told there will be a 10 minute break, then they will resume with another panel. thank you.
5:10 pm
>> i would like to augment that. our operator for the second panel is caicos dissent, inspector general for the department of commerce. year prior tolast her current position, she served for eight years as the ig of the small business administration. that, she served as general counsel to senator claire mccaskill and. billslped write to significantly strengthened the federal offices of inspector general. the inspector general reform act of 2008, would you have heard about, and the legislation that strengthened the inspector general for the troubled asset relief program.
5:11 pm
thank you for being with us today and i will leave it to our moderators to introduce them. >> my goal for this panel is we are going to answer and solve all of the questions and problems that just came up. i have never told a bigger lie in my life, that probably will not happen. i want to take a couple of minutes to give my perspective, then i will introduce our panelists. i hope we can have a robust discussion about the issues we ase talked about, as far inspectors general and their role with congressional oversight, maybe something that can be done better or should be done, tools the inspector general could help have that might increase effectiveness and impact. want toy briefly, i thank the center for asking me
5:12 pm
to do the development. i am excited to see senator levin, who probably doesn't remember me. i was on the hill for about two years. when i was there, i was not a committee staffer. i was a personal staffer, which means i was a peon. -- was oncame homeland security government and got her dream assignment, the permanent subcommittee on investigation. and shecky enough, didn't have too many staff, i was her staffer for the issues on the committee and subcommittee. incredible experience what it means to work in a robust oversight environment that congress is certainly capable of and often exercises. thinking about it, we had a
5:13 pm
series of hearings on credit card companies and some of the abuses credit card companies inflict on their consumers, which resulted in legislation that actually cost issues when you get credit card bill you will see information that will help you figure out when it is due, how much it would cost to pay. if you pay the minimum, you will pay until you are dead in the ground, if you pay this much, you can pay in three years. that was a result of hearings being held by subcommittee investigations. hearings onso medicare providers and how they were receiving duplicate payments for the work that they were doing. that was an interesting series of hearings, because part of that was due to the work of the inspector general. the other thing that was interesting was i remember the
5:14 pm
representative coming in and saying if you stop paying us twice, they would just leave. intos interesting insight people's attitudes and the important work of inspector general, as far as uncovering that type of waste and funds but to poor use because it was duplicative. it was a good introduction for mycoming from the state, immediate prior job before that was state government, there was an auditor, but there was no inspector general. it was uniquely a federal entity, as far as the ig's located within the department with the amount of independence. i would echo what some of the previous speaker said, having worked at every level of government, it is a brilliant scheme. caused them in 1978
5:15 pm
caused congress to create the ig's in the way that they did, they did it beautifully. independencemuch built into their, it was so beneficial to be within the agency. that comes with its own set of compresss. to have an ig sitting in the agency with the dual reporting requirement to congress, that helped us become extremely important parts of the government and provide a valuable service to the taxpayers. i am happy we have been able to strengthen that in the act of 2008 and the increment act of last year. i look forward to talking about also be usefulht to help us perform our jobs even better. the other thing i wanted to mention that i personally find somewhat frustrating, most people don't know what an ig is. people -- if you were to
5:16 pm
stop 10 people on the national mall, nine of them would have never heard of an inspector general, the other might remember the guy in the bathtub in vegas with the champagne. that one resonates still. or some of the current stuff that you read in the post, as far as investigations being done. that is incredibly important work. as senator levin also mentioned in his remarks, that is part of what the inspector general's do. both investigations are important, they help the -- have aield -- feel little bit of faith in their government. when misconduct is discovered and reported, the taxpayers feel better about having the right people in place. theyet all of the intention -- the attention. i was going to come -- confirmation through commerce, most questions i got were about the political appointee who spent $50,000 renovating his
5:17 pm
office. that is egregious, it was important work that the commerce ig had done, it was a good report. we also received a multibillion-dollar settlement program that noah had, and the census. those things are important, too. sometimes it is frustrating as general, it is extremely frustrating for the auditors and be leaders -- evaluators to do that work, that doesn't get as much attention from the stakeholders. senator 11 mentioned the $80 billion that came from ig's for years.t five it is important work, i think sometimes it is overshadowed by the other stuff. i would like to hear from our panelists what we think can be done to change the paradigm on that and make our self more noticed. that was something michael horwich said, which was right. getting attention, the agency
5:18 pm
won't pay near as much attention to that work, as well. they have limited resources, a lot of things they are supposed to be doing, they care a little bit more deeply about your audit recommendation if congress is breathing over the next saying what are you doing? or if outside stakeholders are keeping track and saying what are you doing? it is human nature. it makes perfect sense, but i think it is important. i wonder if our panelists think that ig's -- if there is anything else that they could be doing to further highlight that work with the caveat, there are 73 of us. that is something else i wanted to throw out there that is a company getting factor when you talk about what i just can be doing or should be doing. some offices are incredibly
5:19 pm
large. they said over 14,000 employees, some of them are one person, or to people, or under 10. there is definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution to any of these questions. there are definitely a lot of different pressures that come as a result of what agency you are overseeing, what size you are, things like that. it is a tough issue to tackle. we will not solve it, but it would be -- i appreciate the fact that we are discussing it. i appreciate the levin center for having this symposium. introducing our panel, the interesting thing is that all of included, are either former or current employees of the legislative branch, which is not unusual from the other panelists. these three panelists represent some of the outside stakeholders
5:20 pm
that play a crucial role in coordinating with ig's, highlighting the work of ig's, and doing similar -- simpler oversight. i would like to hear not only your perspectives of when you are on the hill, but also insights they may be gleaming from their current jobs. i will introduce everybody quickly. ofwill have a couple minutes talk from each panelist. i'm looking forward and hopeful we will have a lot of questions. our first panelist is dan blair, who served as senior counsel to the policy center. he had a long and distinguished career in government, working on the hill for several years, then moving to be a deputy director opium -- opm. in 2006, he was named by
5:21 pm
president bush to lead the postal regulatory commission, which had its own ig. from 2011 to 2017, he led the national academy of public administration, a congressionally chartered think tank, which does good work, i'm sure. at theurrently work bipartisan policy center. bette davis works at gao, which withinoversight entity the legislative branch. served as vice president for standards and guidance at the institute of internal auditors and was previously director of auditors for the city of orlando. she began her career in public accounting and for private industry. her current responsibilities include audits related to improper payments, branch management, agencies internal
5:22 pm
controls, and federal ig issues. one of the things i have noticed is congress likes to tell ig's what to do. they love to tell them what to do. they have reviews of the ig bills thatn those have been undertaken. barry has had some responsibility for those recent products. our final panelist is peter tyler, who is a senior policy analyst at project in government oversight. at hhsed part of that oig, which has to be about 100 hour a week job, because it is so immense. before that, nearly two decades congressional experience, including senior professional staffer on senate homeland security and government affairs. he was a very strong proponent of getting ig's the tools that they need.
5:23 pm
we worked very closely together when we were doing impror payments legislation that include on the ig's and was important to senator carper. it was a very positive experience to work with peter as a committee chair on the legislation. with that, i will turn it over to mr. blair. >> good morning, everyone. thank you for that kind introduction. before i begin, i want to make special acknowledgments. this is a real honor and privilege to come here today. thank you senator levin for your kind invitation read i had the privilege to work with you and your staff when i was senior staffer when i worked for the late senator thompson. i am great glee honored to be
5:24 pm
able to -- i am honored to be able to connect with you today. linda was a guest of bpce, one of our sessions. i want to knowledge the least being, it was great to connect with you. also in the audience, beverly. she is one of my colleagues at bpce. she has been instrumental in helping us put together this report. i really appreciate your efforts. i am talking about this report will be issuing its report on congressional oversight in the ig's on july 9. this is a culmination of almost a year's worth of effort at the center in looking at congressional oversight, oversight in general, and the role of the ig's. we came up, i think with interesting observations, which i will not go into today, because i don't want to spoil
5:25 pm
the report we will issue in a short three weeks. an overview about who put it together, who we talked to,nd our process. when we came together to do this report, we assembled a high-level task force of nine members. we were very fortunate in bringing very good talent of folks who span the spectrum of government. we brought together former secretary of agriculture and member of congress from kansas dan glickman. he has a long history at bpce, he has also had tremendous experience both in the legislative and executive perspective. we will be covering some of those in the report. he came into office at the department of agriculture following an id report that led to the downfall of his predecessor. he had very interesting views. about the role of ig's and how
5:26 pm
agencies should interact. former member of congress and secretary of the army, john mccue. worked forsure, i secretary mccue for three years as his staff member on the house oversight in the postal service. he brought to this panel a real interesting perspective, not only as secretary of the army, which is a huge department, larger than a lot of cabinet agencies, but also his role in congress. did onthe key things he the house oversight committee was put together legislation establishing an independent office for the postal service. was the 1996 -- 1997 it chief postal inspector. he saw as an inherent congress -- conflict. treat -- achieve the enactment of the legislation establishing that office. we also worked with three former
5:27 pm
, he was alsolliams the ig at five different agencies. treasury, the ig for -- i forgot ig for the acronym. he was the ig at the irs. we had jim hughes, who had been ig at social security. predecessor, general arnie fields, who had been the special ig for the afghan recovery effort. then we brought in folks who had executive branch experience, but also had the background with congress, as well. ed, the deputy director for management at the office budget management and the clinton administration. omb has a critical role with the
5:28 pm
ig's. they cochair the council of ig's for integrity and efficiency. a very close relationship across government, with multiple ids. find,e what the ig's congress will find of interest and effects management, which is the m in omb. robert is a longtime colleague of mine from the house and senate. he also worked at omd during the bush years and ended up being ski for chaff -- chief of staff. robert has tremendous experience in the government management area. he also sat on a commission that recently made recommendations on evidence-based policymaking for the federal government. this is could ago. we will talk in our report about the involving role of ig's and for ig's to fit into the evidence agenda. this agenda is interesting, because it is an attempt to
5:29 pm
infuse data analytics and into whether federal programs and policies are actually working, and what role do ig's play, more importantly what they need to do to play an effective role in the future. wilson, ad the nice former colleague of mine. she worked on the house oversight committee for henry waxman. and congressman cummings. she later worked as a special assistant to president obama during legislative affairs. we had betty lou taylor, she brought a wealth of experience, not from the authorizing side, but the appropriators side. she was a longtime clerk on the senate labor hhs committee. she worked for senator specter for about 20 years.
5:30 pm
part two that, she was a clerk on the house labor hhs committee. she brought a different perspective than what authorizer's necessarily bring. what theht the idea of power of the purse can do. we talked about that in our report. where the appropriators and authorizers can come together and effect change. our report centers on kind of two dimensions. we make recommendations to the president. a classic one, peter, you know this because you had the website, there were 12 vacancies? vacancies intical the federal government, and there needs to be more pressure made to fill these critical vacancies. we make recommendations to agency heads regarding their relationships with i.g.'s. we make recommendations to the
5:31 pm
themselves, and also recommendations to the council of i.g.'s. michael horvitz was graceful enough to help kickoff our task force meetings back in october. we also make recommendations to congress. at our task force meetings, we have held six of them and have heard from a wide variety of folks in the community. we heard from dustin brown, at that time acting deputy director. interesting to see the role omb plays. we also had a presidential appointments and confirmed i.g. the fine, acting at department of defense, but he has also been at the department of justice in the clinton and bush years. dan levinson from hhs, steve lang from state. we have heard from academics, such as kathy newcomer, and we
5:32 pm
heard from senate and house staffers as well. so, we also heard from a panel of dfe i.g.'s, and from peter, linda, and charlie clark from government and executive. we had a wide variety of people we have heard from. we have recommendations to the i.g.'s. we also have different subject matters involving congress and the i.g., independence, evolution of the i.g. community and growing i.g. capacity. our report will come out july 9, and every one of you is invited to listen in. if you have any questions, you can get my email after this.very glad to be here , answer your questions, and be part of the levin center's effort to enhance this community. thank you so much for your invitation. i look forward to your questions. [applause] from barryill hear
5:33 pm
davis. the relationship of gao and inspectors general ismportant, because they cover the same ground. they have the same oversight responsibilities, with the tiny difference that they are inside the legislative branch working for congress. i will be curious to hear your insights, and any thoughts you might have on improving i.g.'s. >> thank you, peg. a special thanks to the levin center, especially to linda, and of course to senator levin. we want to thank you for giving gao the opportunity to participate today. it is really our privilege. thank you all. let's see. someoing to share with you slides. i thought it might be good to share visually with you some of the points i wanted to make today, and i want to give a special thanks to charlie, one
5:34 pm
of my colleagues in the audience today, for helping me in developing this presentation. i think the most important point is to establish that i.g.'s do a tremendous job. they have a lot of responsibility, and their independence is so importa i have a slide that talks about some of the legislation that took place. there have been multiple pieces of legislation over the years. the landmark legislation occurred in 1978, as everyone knows, but another very important piece was the i.g. reform act of 2008, which actually gave, put in a requirement for i.g.'s to submit budgets in a separate line item, when they submitted budgets for the president's consideration. that was very important, and the i.g.'s oversight is important as well. i want to share more information about the i.g.'s oversight. is there oversight of the i.g. community? there is. i.g.'s are required to have peer
5:35 pm
reviews every three years. a requirement of the yellow book. that they follow government auditing standards. the reform act also established the council of inspectors general on integrity and efficiency. one important piece here of the legislation, there was an item to address allegations of wrong doing through the establishment of an integrity committee, so that if individuals had concerns about i.g.'s or their staff, they could get an independent review of the assertions or allegations. oversight on the part of gao, as to the i.g. community. but before i address that, i wanted to talk about what i think is even more important. that is, the i.g. coordination with gao. we work together hand in hand. the i.g. act requires i.g.'s to
5:36 pm
give particular consideration to gao's work and activities, so there isn't any duplication or overlap. likewise, gao has established protocols, policies in place so that before we go out and conduct any audit, we determine whether the i.g. for that particular agency has done any work, or is planning to do any work, and we work very collaboratively with the i.g.'s to ensure there is not overlap. ae i.g.'s have developed strong partnership with gao, and a couple examples i want to share here are the work that we do on a consolidated financial statement audit. most i.g.'s have a responsibility for the financial audits of their agencies. at the end of the year, we take that all at gao and consolidate it for our annual statement. we again have very strong, good, substantial policies in place to work with i.g.'s, and we depend heavily upon them in helping us
5:37 pm
to produce our end product. likewise, the gao works collaboratively with the i.g.'s relative to improper payments issues, and in particular the i.g.'s have responsibility to look at the compliance of their respective agencies regarding improper payments. we have, on an annual basis now, produced a report that summarizes, assimilates the information the various i.g.'s have conducted, the work they have conducted of their respective agencies. so we have reported that information. another example of collaboration between gao and the i.g.'s. is, as i mentioned, there oversight of the i.g.'s on the part of gao at some point in time. congress may ask us to do a review of a particular i.g. office. if we do that, we will follow their instructions. but if there are no specific
5:38 pm
details on how to conduct the audit, we look at the i.g.'s resources, their accomplishments, their monetary savings, and the extent of their oversight coverage. are they doing a good job covering their respective agency programs and operations? likewise, we look at the quality of the i.g.'s work. the second area i wanted to address, talking about a little different direction, the i.g. oversight of small agencies. this is a very important thing for all of us in the accountability community to consider. small agencies often times have small i.g. shops, if they have them. we have done a number of audits, have done work in this area and made some suggestions to congress about looking at alternatives for oversight of these small agencies. there are a few examples i am sharing here, of situations where a larger federal entity i.g. will take responsibility
5:39 pm
for oversight of a smaller agency. the first example, the department of state i.g. has oversight for the broadcasting board of governors. the agency for international development i.g. has oversight agencies,maller including the millennium challenge corporation. the department of transportation i.g. has responsibility for oversight of the national transportation safety board. we have also done work, and this is an excerpt from an actual report we did, that shows congress and the public that there are alternatives to this oversight of small agencies. the first one on this list here was the one i shared with you, about consolidation or consideration and consolidation a larger.g. of department. the other has to do with perhaps sharing responsibilities, maybe a regional i.g. office with responsibilities between the different regional entities.
5:40 pm
the third example here, dividing i.g. oversight responsibilities. maybe giving some to one larger i.g. office, and some to another larger i.g. office. this comes directly from one of our reports, listed on the screen if you have any interest in looking into further details on this information. this is the third, final area i wanted to talk about. we recently in march of this year produced a report. 2016re required under the i.g. empowerment act to go in and look at prolonged vacancies in i.g. offices. as you can see from the chart, we looked at the presidentially appointed, senate confirmed offices as well as the designated federal entity offices. there are 32 in each category. numbers, therehe are 32 in each of those two categories. looking at these charts, the pas
5:41 pm
offices had larger vacancies over a 10-year period, a larger number of i.g. vacancies that lasted over three years. there were 11 i.g. vacancies cumulatively that lasted over three years. for the dfe offices, there was only one that lasted over three years. this ia an expansive explanation of the point about the 11 pas i.g. vacancies. the department of state was at the beginning of the list, and that vacancy listed team literally almost six years -- cumulatively almost six years. several were there were multiple vacancies in the offices. of the 11, there are three of the 11 still vacant. most importantly, the department of defense. i point that out, because as you can see from the chart, it also has an extended period of vacancy.
5:42 pm
the department of defense is well over four years of cumulative vacancy over the 10-year period. when i talk vacancies, the issuer there are acting i.g.'s, but they are not filled permanently. we also as part of the review did a survey of i.g.'s who had served in acting positions, and also their offices, personnel who worked under an i.g. that was in a temporary position. we had three main areas of focus. we wanted to look at whether or not the i.g.'s who were acting i.g.'s had the ability to plan and conduct their work, to interact with agency management, and to manage their office and personnel. i will share briefly with you the results. for the first category, the effect on the o.i.g.'s ability to plan and conduct work. generally, acting i.g.'s and
5:43 pm
their employees did not think there was a significant impact on the o.i.g.'s ability to plan and conduct work. eight of the nine acting i.g.'s had this opinion. employees,he o.i.g. depending on which question, because there were different ones, but between 49% and 69% believe that having an acting i.g. has no impact on these areas. there were exceptions. for example, negative impact on timely completion of all reports and other aspects of i.g. activities as well. the second area, the effect on the o.i.g.'s ability to interact with agency management. similar to the first area, most individuals who responded to the survey did not think there was a significant impact on the i.g.'s ability to conduct their work. this was the response of the acting i.g.'s but also the o.i.g. employees.
5:44 pm
63% believed having an acting i.g. has no impact. however, a smaller segment believed, 17%, believe there is a negative impact on responsiveness from agency management, and timely acts as to agency documentation. the third area has to do with the effect on the o.i.g.'s ability to manage the o.i.g. and its personnel. there was a little more movement in the other direction for this particular category that we looked at. in some cases, people felt there was no impact, but some felt there was a negative impact, and there was a little more mixture in this case, both on the parts of the acting i.g.'s and the o.i.g. employees. the o.i.g. employees, approximately 55% believe there is no impact, but important to note that 35% believe there is a negative impact on employee morale. the last and final slide i want
5:45 pm
to share has to do with the independence or perception of independence on the part of i.g. 's serving in an active position. the permane i.g.'s felt that i.g.'s were independent. they did flip the other way when asked whether they felt i.g.'s were independent in appearance. most of the i.g.'s we surveyed felt there was an issue in this regard. for the acting i.g.'s, they felt there was no threat to their independence as acting i.g.'s, but it might be an appearance isblem that an active i.g. lobbying for a particular job. similar responses from the o.i.g. employees. 52% believe an acting i.g. is not less independent, but a number of people who responded in the employee community felt there could be a concern about the independence from a perspective standpoint, that the
5:46 pm
individual might be perceived in an acting position as not being quite as independent. that's essentially the summary. i appreciate your attention. thank you. [applause] i realize we are already going over time, and that is totally the first panel's fault [laughter] before i asked peter to give his comments, i wanted to give peter all the props in the world about the work he has done. but i will give quick props to the project on government oversight. p.o.g.o. is a tremendous example of a nongovernmental entity that provides robust oversight of its own. it was one of the first meetings that took in d.c. they are famous for the hammers f, the multi-hundred dollar hammers the d.o.d. was buying,
5:47 pm
that was the work of p.o.g.o. they are very strong proponents for the i.g.'s. we work closely -- worked closely with them on the i.g. reform act, so thrilled to have peter, and talk -- peter come up and talk. >> thank you, peg, and thank you to the levin center for hosting an event on a very important topic. i also join my colleagues in appreciation of senator levin. he may not remember me. i was working for senator tom carper, one of the staffers sitting on the bench behind him the whole time. so he did not see me. a lot of the staff, enjoy is probably the wrong word, but back when people were sitting in front of him, witnesses at a hearing, he would push hard, very hard, at times with great effect. it was always a pleasure to see you at your job, now to be in
5:48 pm
front of you at this time. i will echo a lot of what was said in the earlier panel, by earlier speakers in this panel, which is the importance of inspectors general in their oversight duties. nose apprise, the project -- no surprise, the project on government oversight considers government oversight an important function. [applause] over the last 40 years since the i.g. act, that importance continues, if not grown. there are plenty of issues to show for -- .2, presidential areas, other areas. of.g.o is a reader reports across the government. when i was on the hill, the inspectors general were go to entities for credible information. for certain programs, or for actually delving into an issue, talking to the i.g.'s, getting
5:49 pm
briefings, inviting them to hearings. on more than one occasion, i had the opportunity of taking inspector general recommendations, translating them, and through a very long processing them become law. in many ways, congress is a conduit of that. the i.g.'s continue to be important. noting the 40th anniversary, on ano. decided to take initiative that will sound familiar. to look at potential changes to the inspector general's act and other ways of improving the policies,, requirements, tools, and abilities of the i.g.'s to be even more effective in the future. some of these are very big. some of these are very small. where we got these ideas is not a secret. everything from experts who know these issues, i.g.'s themselves, people working with the i.g.'s for a long time, but a lot of it came from the best practices.
5:50 pm
one of the things you hear in the i.g. world, if you have seen one inspector general office, you have seen one inspector general office. [laughter] they all tend to do things a little differently. some things do very well in on aspect. others not so well, and so on. we can see the best practices and say, this i.g. is doing this very well. these others could emulate the. there's reasons for this. some of them make sense. smaller i.g.'s might have more challenges. some are just the way that things are. but there's a lot of ideas out there. i will differ with dan blair by actually giving out a couple of my recommendations. consider this a movie trailer. by the way, i should point out we are in touch with each other, we are swapping notes. it has been invaluable to talk with dan blair and the other folks on his investigation. a couple of thoughts. and i should point out the i.g. community itself is making great strides. today talked i.g.
5:51 pm
about, a great step forward in consolidating, finding a place to consolidate all the i.g. reports in one place. one-stop shopping. use it a lot. it sounds like, what is a big deal, i could go to the department of commerce i.g. and get the reports. when you need to find all 73 reports on something arcane like fisa or some other issue, that is when is vital. one can make a cross-government examination. there are other things we have not seen happen yet. one of the big issues is focusing on the big issues. p.o.g.o. would not be one to say small issues, accounting problems, are unimportant. that is our bread and butter in many ways. however, we see at times inspectors general so involved in the trees that they don't see the forest. there are issues which traditionally the inspectors general simply do not focus their attention on.
5:52 pm
there's exceptions, but these are issues of health and safety, civil rights, crime and ethics. if the i.g. is only focusing on minutiae -- what what about thingse being done wrong, sexual harassment, things that need attention in our government. there's a recommendation we will make, to update how the semiannual requirements are written in law. if you have not read the i.g. act, the four pages of semiannual requirements, you will find 22 reporting requirements of the i.g.'s on a semiannual basis. some of these have just become archaic, in that we no longer everyo see summaries of major report, every report as would typically happen. they are online. they are required by law to be online. but it is more than that.
5:53 pm
these provisions need to be removed, not just because they exist elsewhere, but also they incentivize the wrong type of work within i.g. offices. many identified requirements don't provide important information to what challenges a given agency phases in the big picture, fulfilling the agency's mission. initiatives like negate the need to simply include the summaries which can be found very quickly. we need not say how many reports have been written in the last six months. on the website, you can count them. the point is to move away from the minutiae, and incentivize the big picture. emphasize the communication congress really needs. there are other examples as well. for example, looking at my notes apologize -- the issue of
5:54 pm
vacancies. this is something p.o.g.o. tracks. the answer was 14 i.g.'s are now unfilled at this time. we track that. the question is, when will they be filled? we do know that they are unfilled, but we don't know when they will be filled. there are a couple steps we would like to see, probably through a change by congress in the federal vacancies reform act, a law that says, what is the process for ensuring vacancies are filled? for example, currently it is notified by the administration that there is a vacancy. what is not notified, when will the vacancy be felt -- filled? what is your plan? why hasn't it been filled? there's another we are exploring , which i will talk about, could is someone else make the i.g. nomination on a temporary basis? there is an interesting
5:55 pm
u.s.dent, whereby for attorneys that are vacant, the judicial branch takes care of that. they can do a temporary nomination and fill that position temporarily. is that something the i.g. community could also see happen, with the senate role of jurisdiction? why is that important for i.g.'s ? unlike a lot of agency heads, there is a distant sent it, at least -- idisincentive, at least theoretically. and's can be troublesome, it may not be seen in the best interests of an administration to move quickly. so here is perhaps a different process for filling vacancies. those are two. more to come. looks like we are on the same path as far as timing for the recommendations. we look forward to hearing what you all have to say about those in a few weeks, and i look forward to questions now. [applause]
5:56 pm
keenly aware of how much we have covered in the last two hours, but i have a lot of questions. i could talk about vacancies for about two hours. there's 4000 things we are talking about. but i want to make sure we open it up, if there are questions from the audience, that we get those. if we could do that -- malshein, former i.g. for the architect of the capitol. one of the questions i have, for the panel, maybe for barry davis directly. have you looked at the situation with i.g.'s, new i.g.'s coming in, and whether they are, this is a term i heard when i first took office, that is, inert employees. when you inherit a staff, and as
5:57 pm
an i.g. you want to build the best team you can, and you are left with very few vacant positions to fill, what happens the inherited staff members may not be on board with your program. so i wondered, have there been looks at, is that slowing down the work of i.g.'s, particularly newly appointed i.g.'s who want the direction for the office but are left with people who may not be dedicated to that direction? >> that's an excellent question. unfortunately, we have not looked at that, but i understand the issue and the concerns. when we did the review that resulted in what i shared with
5:58 pm
you on i.g. vacancies, we got responses to the survey, open-ended questions. some people had different opinions, but we have not specifically done work about the initial phase when a new i.g. takes office. good question, deserves a good response. there are tools available for you. shaping tools that congress granted. to the extent that you can use them, with the architect of the capitol you would have to work office the capitol within the house. these are tools you can use, early outs, buyouts, to move people out of their positions. to one person is active resistance, or institutional knowledge to someone else. but it's reflective of the fact
5:59 pm
that, when you come into the federal workplace, employees have protections, and they are there for a reason. this ian example of the leadership skills, in order to motivate the new office. >> it is, i will tell you from the perspective of somebody who i have now been fortunate enough to be confirmed as an inspector general in two offices, you are the only political in that office, which makes perfect sense because it is an apolitical office. everyone else is a career. but they don't know you. they don't know what you are about. there is a sizing up time, for example. at p.a.s., there are things you can do in a certain amount of time. everyone comes in on day one,
6:00 pm
knowing what they want to do, going full force -- i would suggest that is a little premature, because you know very little about the office if you are coming in fresh. something to be said for that. the bigger issue might be, what happens sometimes whethere's a vacancy and you are hopeful the i.g. is coming, the acting is holding off on doing certain things. sometimes they will leave positions unfilled, which i appreciate the thought behind it, that the i.g. take their person. this i.g. could be here any minute, let's wait and let them pick the head of audits or investigation or have a role. the problem becomes, when all of a sudden it is months later and the i.g. still is not there. that's a very normal occurrence. that happens a lot. the other way would be for that not to happen, and then you have an i.g. that comes in with less flexibility because many decisions have been made.
6:01 pm
i don't know how you solve that. having been to the process twice, there are a lot of frustrating things about going through confirmation. even as a lifelong public servant, so i own nothing, i have no business interests, it is still a complicated, invasive, long, torturous process. the most frustrating thing is that you have zero control of how quickly it will go, whether it will happen, things like that. and the office is facing the exact same thing. sitting here, waiting. i think everybody who is an acting would love to have the permanent person in. a lot of headaches come with being an i.g. it is a fantastic position, but you are the target, you get the slings and arrows. careerly the acting is a with a day job and a lot going on already. everybody would love for it to happen quickly. it's very rarely does. there are definitely difficulties coming from that. i don't have an answer, but i
6:02 pm
would agree with you that it is multifaceted. are there any further questions? are we doing ok on time? the one thing i wanted to say, very quickly, i don't know if the panel members have anything they want to say. i really love doing this, tellingi love people what i think. i am a lawyer by training. i am happy to share my opinion. i was a legislative chair for a long time. i have done a lot of these panels. i love them. they are always very helpful, but one of the funny things about them, i get to see old friends because it tends to be the same people here. do you know what i mean? sometimes i feel like we are always in a little bit of a bubble. romis always great to hear f -- an incredibly important committee for i.g., taking an active role. senator grassley's a tremendous friend of i.g.'s.
6:03 pm
wants to know how i.g.'s are doing, making sure they are doing their job correctly. homeland security, government affairs, the same thing. the bigger question for i.g.'s is everybody else. we all have authorizing committees. we all have different relationships with those committees. it is important that we have this strong relationships with homeland security, government affairs, the judiciary committee, but they can only do so much. if we have these pockets of very active interest in i.g.'s, highlighting the work of inspectors general, i think the key for us, and i don't have any answers, how do we get the rest of congress to be actively involved, highlighting the work inspectors general aer doing a little more -- are doing a little more. as people who formerly worked in the legislative branch, i don't know if you have thoughts about that, tips for inspectors
6:04 pm
general about what we should do. some of us have robust congressional affairs staffs. some have none, because they are very small. with that concept, when you know buti.g., you know one i.g., any guidelines? >> one thing to consider, regular meetings with authorizer's and appropriators. we heard from some appropriators who never heard from the i.g.'s. developing the strong relationship. we also heard that some of the committee, some of the hill staff don't even know who to contact within the office of the i.g. posting on your website, the chief point of contact. looking at some of these different websites for the i.g.'s, having the same person as the chief point of contact for press, congressional is not helpful, because that person cannot handle that. within the office, they need to
6:05 pm
have delegations of authority, who you need to go to within your office, who you need to go theithin opm, or within department of interior. those are some helpful things. our report kind of addresses those. those are some things we heard from our speaker. >> i think our reports will be very similar. [laughter] i echo what dan said, but also add, this is a shared responsibility of how to ensure i.g.'s do their job better, but also work with congress. it is the responsibility of the i.g. themselves. congress needs to update laws. congressional staff, congressional members, people throughout congress need to do a better job. the administration has a role. but there are small things every do. can do, as simple as, you have a phone number for congressional staff to call? do you have in email address? not just a problem for small i.g.'s.
6:06 pm
i worked for a large i.g. that did not have those things. it was strange. that can be easily fixed. there's also larger things. it turns out, despite a very requirement, not all reports are being posted. if it is deemed classified or sensitive, not only do most i.g. 's not post them in any form, they don't even announce their existence, so in effect, agency has censored the i.g. because that doesn't happen. the department of defense i.g. has a best practice shared by gao. if the agency says, this is classified or sensitive, the i.g. will at least say, a report exists, it is considered sensitive. if you want a copy, call this number, and congressional staff can call to get the number. it seems simple, but that is not happening through the i.g.
6:07 pm
community. a great example of best practice that should be done throughout the i.g. community. >> i think that is right. congress is a scary place, especially if you have never worked for congress before. sometimes, again, i have been that staff are behind the member where somebody's getting screamed at. it is scary. sometimes i.g.'s don't build those relationships may be that they should be building, for whatever reason. but congress, if congress is paying attention, our work will, a lot more change will happen as a result of an inspector general's work. thank you. i think we have some closing remarks. >> well, i want to thank, i'm one of the washington codirectors of the levin center. i want to thank our panelists and speakers for participating today in this educational and
6:08 pm
thoughtful conversation about the role of inspectors general, and the role they can and should play in congressional oversight. we have showcased the good work i.g.'s do, in terms of the andnt of money they save the integrity that they bring to government programs. we raised a number of issues worki.g.'s face in their and for congress. i.g.'s have to be willing to be unpopular. they have to speak truth to power. although that is an overworked phrase, it is a perfect fit when it comes to inspectors general. they have to call the balls and strikes fairly without bias, without sleight-of-hand. they have to state the facts as they find them, and stand up to criticism, which is not easy. congress, the agencies, and the
6:09 pm
american public rely on the inspectors general to do that, and i.g.'s have to engage with congress, to let congress know the work that they do, the recommendations that they make. they have to work, they can't try to avoid congress, which some i.g.'s might do. they have to work directly and honestly with congress, and equally, probably more importantly, they have to work equally with both sides of the aisle. although it has been 40 years since the i.g. act became law, the notion of inspector general dates back to george washington. when he wanted an inspector general for the army, to be sure that the troops and his officers were doing the right thing. that was 1777, and congress took washington's idea to heart and established the first inspector general. so really, it has been over 240 years, and i think we can safely say that the idea of inspectors
6:10 pm
general has stood the test of time. thank you to the 73 inspectors general who do this challenging and important work day in and day out. thank you to the thousands of dedicated employees t who work with them. congress made a very wise move in creating the office, has made some very important improvements over the years, and hopefully will continue to benefit from the good work they set in motion. thank you again for being here, and enjoy your afternoon. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] the justice,
6:11 pm
department's inspector general michael horowitz and fbi director christopher wray will testify on the i.g.'s report on the fbi's handling of the investigation into the 2016 election. watch the senate judiciary live at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. on newsmakers, sunday, new york congressman jerrold nadler, ranking member of the house judiciary committee, talks about pending immigration bills, the i.g.'s report on the fbi's handling of the clinton email investigation in 2016, and the oncial counsel investigation russian influence in the 2016 campaign. there's a preview, and what he had to say about impeaching president trump. >> if democrats win the majority, you will be the chairman of the committee with oversight over impeachment. when you won that spot, a number of stories were written, this is
6:12 pm
the man who would oversee impeachment. democratic activists, a number of them are anticipating that. what are you telling them, heading into the election and preparing for next year, about your stance on impeachment and any plans at this point? >> well, i think it is much too early to determine whether there ought to be impeachment proceedings or not. first thing is, wait for the mueller investigation, see what he finds. was there active, did the president participate in a criminal conspiracy with the russians, or didn't he? that's one of the key questions. what about obstruction of justice? we have to see what the evidence is, and what the special counsel finds. said this als, i 20 years ago during the clinton administration, and i repeat it now, and i mean it. it would be very harmful to the
6:13 pm
country to pursue an impeachment if the case were not so overwhelming, the evidence so overwhelming that by the end of the impeachment proceeding, an appreciable fraction, not necessarily the majority, but an appreciable fraction of the people who voted for the president would agree you had to do it. because if you did it on a partisan basis, where only democrats are supporting the impeachment, besides the fact that obviously you need 67 votes in the senate, but putting that aside, you push the country apart. you have 20 years of her cremations, people saying -- recriminations, people saying we won the election and you stole it. you only avoid that if the case is so overwhelming, the evidence so strong, that you get an appreciable fraction of the people who voted for trump to agree, perhaps reluctantly, but to agree you really had to do that. >> watch "newsmakers" with congressman nadler sunday at 10 a


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on