The Mystery of the Missing IGs

posted at 12:10 pm on February 24, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

When Barack Obama campaigned for office, he insisted that his administration would bring a new era of transparency.  It has, but not in the way most took Obama to mean.  Dana Liebelson wants to hire Sherlock Holmes to get to the bottom of the Mystery of the Missing IGs:

IGs oversee an army of talented auditors and investigators who independently bust waste, fraud, and misconduct within government agencies. In the past, IG-led investigations have exposed torture supported by the Bush Administration, misuse of the controversial Patriot Act, and Humvee “death traps” in Iraq. These watchdogs are vital to keeping federal agencies honest, and informing Congress of wrongdoing. They also save taxpayers up to $18 for every dollar invested in IGs, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

But some of the most important agency posts — for example, an IG for the State Department — are vacant, and have been for years. Many of these “missing watchdogs” require an appointment from President Obama before the Senate can confirm them, but the White House has been downright sluggish, if not outright negligent, in taking action. …

Here are some facts: According to a new tracker published by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), there are now 12 IG vacancies, including the Department of State (vacant for nearly 1,500 days), the Department of Justice (nearly 400 days), the Department of Homeland Security (more than 360 days), and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (nearly 400 days).

Obama has nominated a baker’s dozen of IGs, and all but three have been confirmed.  Eight of those nominations came before the midterm elections.  Obama has not even bothered to nominate an IG for State despite the years-long open spot.  Most of these appointees got confirmations within weeks of their formal nominations, so the issue is not obstructionism by Republicans in the Senate.

So what’s the problem?  It’s that the Obama administration isn’t terribly interested in independent transparency.  Just ask Gerald Walpin, whose objections to a sweetheart deal to get an Obama backer out of serious trouble led to his firing.  Less well known was another termination of an IG at the same time, and the leashing of another.   Other IGs erupted in outrage, and it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to realize that Obama learned the lesson that it’s easier to operate with fewer IGs.  Why appoint watchdogs who will only get in your way?


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Just ask Gerald Walpin, whose objections to a sweetheart deal to get an Obama backer out of serious trouble led to his firing.

Kevin Johnson. Say his freaking name. Kevin Johnson.

Lanceman on February 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM

The Mystery of the Missing IGs

Why appoint watchdogs who will only get in your way?

Mystery solved.

Tim_CA on February 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Kevin Johnson. Say his freaking name. Kevin Johnson.

Lanceman on February 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Obama is such a jock sniffer.

CycloneCDB on February 24, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Busy for nothing, nothing doing here, once again FAIL.

residentblue on February 24, 2012 at 12:18 PM

They also save taxpayers up to $18 for every dollar invested in IGs,

Now that there’s the reason he leaves their seats vacant. Can’t have that now, can we?/

askwhatif on February 24, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Who the hell needs IG’s when you got totalitarian czars, who follow the bosses lead?

De Oppresso Liber on February 24, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Transparency is indignant. Most corrupt administration, evah!

Even if he loses, the stench he leaves behind will never be removed.

Hypocrits rejoice!

Liar of them all, a sausage made from Muenchhausen, Pinocchio, Orwell and Machiavelli.

Schadenfreude on February 24, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Trolls’ brains are cut out today. Too much corruption for them to wrap gnat-brains around.

Schadenfreude on February 24, 2012 at 12:21 PM

According to a new tracker published by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), there are now 12 IG vacancies, including the Department of State (vacant for nearly 1,500 days), the Department of Justice (nearly 400 days), the Department of Homeland Security (more than 360 days), and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (nearly 400 days).

So..Are there check being written out and who’s cashing them? I certainly hope we are not paying for some strawdogs…

rich801 on February 24, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Holder is the biggest crook. Why appoint IGs to expose his operation, and all the others?

Looters rejoice…but one day, soon, the producers will have had it. It is that day I look forward to.

Schadenfreude on February 24, 2012 at 12:22 PM

If the R party had their act together,,they would use something like this for an ad. Maybe shout it from the rooftops,,,,,,,nah,,,that might offend somebody.

retiredeagle on February 24, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Just ask Gerald Walpin, whose objections to a sweetheart deal to get an Obama backer out of serious trouble led to his firing.

And he was fired illegally, the process mandated by law to remove an IG was ignored. Consequences for that illegal firing?
(Crickets chirping)

iurockhead on February 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Charles Manson was a mystery too.

faraway on February 24, 2012 at 12:31 PM

If you used the screw pic every time it was appropriate, it would indeed get tiring.

Marcola on February 24, 2012 at 12:34 PM

If you follow the link to the tracker some of the missing IGs are in departments where we have scandals and investigations by congress going on.

Others are in departments pushing radical agendas that would prefer to operate under the radar.

CommentGuy on February 24, 2012 at 12:35 PM

I wonder why they don’t have a IG for the DOJ?

/sarc

shanimal on February 24, 2012 at 12:36 PM

So the DOJ is missing an IG. Could that explain why investigating Fast and Furious is taking so long?

Holder is “investigating”, isn’t he?

GarandFan on February 24, 2012 at 12:36 PM

He asked Holder to look into this…

right2bright on February 24, 2012 at 12:36 PM

No IG at Justice? Why, you could knock me over with a feather.

youknowit on February 24, 2012 at 12:40 PM

It’s going to be like the Augean Stables when the next President takes over.

rockmom on February 24, 2012 at 12:42 PM

If you look at the board members and their histories for the group doing the tracking here they seem to have a history of being left of center to say the least.

Still good to see they seem to be reporting the facts no matter where the chips might fall.

CommentGuy on February 24, 2012 at 12:42 PM

On the other hand, don’t ever forget that IG’s can be misused as well. During a short time in the government I had a government lawyer threaten to report me to an IG because of an action he did not like that I pushed. I was confident about my position and offered to call the IG for him. He backed down, but if someone was not indifferent to their government career, this kind of threat might be effective.

Over50 on February 24, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Danny Kaye was unavailable for comment.

Left Coast Right Mind on February 24, 2012 at 12:43 PM

you have to understand the Kenyan culture – IG’s murder babies there.

DHChron on February 24, 2012 at 12:45 PM

No IG at Justice…?

… Then who’s looking into ‘Fast and Furious’?

Seven Percent Solution on February 24, 2012 at 12:47 PM

not suprised.

i was thinking this morning after – take your pick of any actions he has done – about anyone who still supports him and is not living off the govt, just shouldn’t be allowed to drive or procreate.

cougar on February 24, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Time for a Committee of Public Safety:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee_of_Public_Safety

marinetbryant on February 24, 2012 at 12:49 PM

What was that French word for shoe again? Sabot, right?

ElectricPhase on February 24, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Heh. Great picture, Ed.

Obama standing in front of a giant screw.

davidk on February 24, 2012 at 1:14 PM

This election needs to be framed around how liberal the left has become. During Obama’s first two years in office, the Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress. For the first year, they had a filibuster-proof Senate and a 70 seat advantage in the House. To listen to Obama complain about the lack of bi-partisanship in Congress since he “arrived on the scene” tells you how he hates to compromise. His biggest opponents in the first year were a group called the “Blue Dog Democrats”. This is a group that has been completely dismissed out of hand by the Democrats. And they are the punching bag that Obama loves to beat.
The American people need to know this and the GOP nominee needs to remind people that while the media loves to paint the GOP as “far-right”, it’s the Democrats that have actually become “far-left”.

djaymick on February 24, 2012 at 1:15 PM

1400 days without a State Department IG, but it was so imperative to get a head of the CFPB that he had to declare the Senate in recess when it wasn’t to appoint Cordray. And yet, as long as he was busy violating the Constitution for recess appointments, he couldn’t recess appoint a State Dept or DoJ IG.

Things that make you go ‘hmmmm’.

gravityman on February 24, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Nothing new here, just MO Chicago corruption from the WH by a Failed President is all.

Brushjumper on February 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM

The American people need to know this and the GOP nominee needs to remind people that while the media loves to paint the GOP as “far-right”, it’s the Democrats that have actually become “far-left”.

djaymick on February 24, 2012 at 1:15 PM

An excellent point that I hope rears it’s head in the general election repeatedly. Obama would like us all to forget that the GOP members of Congress could NOT have stopped him doing ANYTHING he wanted for the first two years of his ‘reign’. So why was ObamaCare such a battle, and why couldn’t the Dems get their beloved public option (or even their more beloved single-payer)? Why didn’t Cap-and-Tax get through? Where was the immigration reform? All of those should have been a breeze to whip through Congress and get to his desk, while the worst the GOP could have done was sit in the corner and pout.

It wasn’t the GOP that made ObamaCare such a fight or prevented the public option or stopped Cap-and-Trade or halted immigration reform… it was the semi-reasonable members of his own friggin’ party!!

gravityman on February 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM

The Failed President is both a liar, loser, and is destroying America. Secret Service personnel have stated he is a dishonest person and his wife hates white people. He is a very dangerous man and ignores the law in general, the will of the American people, Congress, and the Constitution.

There are no longer massive adoring crowds to deceive. For the first time in Barack Obama’s life, he is accountable. He has repeatedly shown that he cannot deal with, and will never be able to shoulder responsibility, as he is at his core a self-absorbed man, and a very dishonest human being.

Obama has never stood for individualism, capitalism, or liberty. The citizens of our country naively gave the reins of power to a tyrant. The White House has been marginalized and he has proven himself to be the most inept president in modern history. He is symbolic of a man who has downgraded the White House, the Constitution, human life, foreign policy, race relations, and America herself.

His resignation from office would be a great first step toward economic recovery. The majority of Americans are sick of his condescension, his policies, his racist bigotry, and his incompetence. Obama is “the most disastrous president in our history.”

This is the most corrupt, incompetent, dangerous tyrannical administration in American history. His only chance at re-election is to redistribute billions of dollars to his voters and campaign contributors in the way of entitlements, welfare, food stamps, stimulus, and green energy “investments” by government. He is the nation’s worst president. He is an arrogant, hyper-partisan, race-baiting, and a committed socialist

Brushjumper on February 24, 2012 at 1:26 PM

They also save taxpayers up to $18 for every dollar invested in IGs, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

The benefit/cost ratio at the IRS for recovery of unpaid is about as dramatic, and certainly beneficial:

More importantly, recovery of unpaid taxes would eliminate the bulk of projected federal budget deficits over the next 10 years. [Article date is April 12, 2005]

The estimated effect for tax year (calendar year) 2001 amounted to $12 of regular tax payments for every dollar collected through an audit.

Expanded measures for enforcement of the tax code would be expected to pay for themselves in improved collections. Estimates of the extent of the payoff vary, depending on how enforcement is intensified. IRS Commissioner Mark Everson believes the benefit/cost ratio is more than four-to-one (Kenney 2005a), which means a dollar more for enforcement brings at least $4 back to the Treasury and a net $3 reduction in the budget deficit (or increase in the budget surplus). We noted at the outset of this Briefing Paper that the $10 billion IRS budget (which also goes to functions other than enforcement, such as taxpayer assistance, and processing over 130 million individual income tax returns) accounted for $56 billion in additional collections in 2001.

Of the taxes that remain unpaid, some underpayments are actually already known to the IRS, but the resources to recover this debt simply are not currently available. Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Leonard Burman, citing former IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti, estimated the known arrears to be $30 billion. In his view, this could have been recovered with an additional $2.2 billion in resources for enforcement.

davidk on February 24, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Who needs IGs when you have the democrat party in control of the executive branch.

jukin3 on February 24, 2012 at 2:03 PM

I guess IG’s just are not necessary. After all, with Obama in the White House, why wouldn’t we be confident that government is running the way it should be?

Happy Nomad on February 24, 2012 at 2:19 PM

No point at all in bringing this up in the debates. Better to posture over who’s the most conservative.

a capella on February 24, 2012 at 2:19 PM

No mystery here – IG’s translate into potential exposure of Dear Leader’s nefarious plans and corruption – a problem that can be solved by *not* appointing any IG’s.

Mr Galt on February 24, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Who needs IGs when you have the democrat party in control of the executive branch.

jukin3 on February 24, 2012 at 2:03 PM

Precisely! With all of their compassionate, swamp-draining, transparency, and stuff.

Mr Galt on February 24, 2012 at 3:18 PM