State Department Has Gone 5 Years without an Inspector General

Thursday, February 14, 2013
Harold Geisel

Tired of waiting for the Obama administration to act, Republican and Democratic lawmakers recently wrote to the White House and the State Department about the latter’s lack of an inspector general (IG).

 

It has been five years since the State Department had a permanent IG, leaving the office in the hands of deputy inspector general Harold W. Geisel.

 

That’s far too long, as far as House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-California) and ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-New York) are concerned. They wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to find someone for President Barack Obama to appoint.

 

Another group of lawmakers wrote to Obama expressing their own concerns about installing a permanent IG, who is needed to assure that the State Department is working to prevent waste, fraud and abuse, they said.

 

No other agency in the federal government has had an inspector general vacancy as long as the State Department has. The last State Department IG, Howard Krongard, resigned effective January 15, 2008, after allegations that he had blocked investigations into Iraq-related contract fraud and alleged arms smuggling by Blackwater Worldwide (now Academi).

 

The vacancy was the subject of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report (pdf) two years ago. The GAO pointed out that relying on U.S. ambassadors to lead inspector general inspections “resulted in, at a minimum, the appearance of independence impairment.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

Congress Calls on Kerry to Appoint a State Department Inspector General (by Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy)

Lawmakers urge Obama, Kerry to Name Inspector General for State Department (by Guy Taylor, Washington Times)

Letter to John Kerry from House Foreign Affairs Committee (pdf)

Letter to President Obama from Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (pdf)

State Dept. Inspector General Position Vacant for More Than 3 Years (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

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