Royce, Engel Request Secretary Kerry’s Support in Filling Five-year Inspector General Vacancy at State Department

Feb 5, 2013

House Foreign Affairs Committee Leaders Urge President to Nominate Inspectors General for State, USAID

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Committee, Monday requested that newly sworn-in Secretary of State John Kerry urge President Obama to promptly nominate a permanent Inspector General for the State Department, a position that has remained vacant for more than 1,840 days. 

In a letter to Secretary Kerry, Royce and Engel wrote:  “As you begin your tenure, we would like to raise an issue essential to the proper functioning of the Department of State…[Q]ualified, independent Inspectors General play an indispensible role in maintaining the efficacy of those agencies, by minimizing waste, fraud, and abuse.  At a time of grave fiscal challenges, all of us owe a duty to American taxpayers to ensure that their hard-earned dollars are spent properly, and Inspectors General are an integral part of that commitment.  We therefore respectfully request that you urge the President to nominate a permanent Inspector General for the Department of State as soon as possible…”

The State Department has not had a permanent Inspector General for more than five years -- since January 16, 2008.  In 2011, the Government Accountability Office expressed concern about the State Department vacancy. 

In a separate letter to President Obama, Royce and Engel urged action to fill the State Department vacancy, as well as to appoint a permanent Inspector General at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a position that has been vacant since October 15, 2011. 

The signed letter to Secretary Kerry is available HERE

The signed letter to the President is available HERE

The text of the letters follows: 

 

February 4, 2013

The Honorable John F. Kerry
Secretary
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary:

As Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, we congratulate you again on your confirmation as our nation’s 68th Secretary of State.  We wish you success in confronting the world’s most pressing challenges, and look forward to a close and constructive working relationship.

As you begin your tenure, we would like to raise an issue essential to the proper functioning of the Department of State.  For more than five years, since January 16, 2008, the Department has lacked a presidentially-nominated, Senate-confirmed Inspector General.  That gap of more than 1,840 days is the longest vacancy of any of the 73 Inspector General positions across the federal government.  While this would be problematic under any circumstances, the repeated criticisms of the independence and effectiveness of that office by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) heighten the need for an appointment.

As you well know, qualified, independent Inspectors General play an indispensible role in maintaining the efficacy of those agencies, by minimizing waste, fraud, and abuse.  At a time of grave fiscal challenges, all of us owe a duty to American taxpayers to ensure that their hard-earned dollars are spent properly, and Inspectors General are an integral part of that commitment.  We therefore respectfully request that you urge the President to nominate a permanent Inspector General for the Department of State as soon as possible, and appreciate your attention to this request.  

Sincerely,

EDWARD R. ROYCE
Chairman
ELIOT L. ENGEL
Ranking Member

 

February 4, 2013

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the authorizing committee with primary jurisdiction over the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development, we are writing to urge you to appoint permanent Inspectors General as soon as possible to oversee these agencies’ affairs.  Qualified, independent Inspectors General play an indispensible role in maintaining the efficacy of those agencies, by minimizing waste, fraud, and abuse.

The State Department has not had a permanent Inspector General for more than five years, since January 16, 2008.  That gap of more than 1,840 days is the longest vacancy of any of the 73 Inspector General positions across the federal government.  While this would be problematic under any circumstances, the repeated criticisms of the independence and effectiveness of that office by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) heighten the need for an appointment.  Similarly, the Agency for International Development’s Inspector General has remained vacant since October 15, 2011.  Both of these Inspector General offices monitor key elements of the U.S. Government’s national security budget, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, and these leadership vacancies raise questions as to whether billions of dollars in programs are being properly overseen.

All of us have a duty to American taxpayers to ensure that their hard-earned dollars are spent properly, and Inspectors General are an integral part of that commitment.  For this reason, we respectfully request that you submit nominations for these critical positions without delay.

Sincerely,

EDWARD R. ROYCE
Chairman
ELIOT L. ENGEL
Ranking Member

 

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