Misconduct by Justice Officials Kept Under Wraps Will Now See Light of Day

Thursday, June 11, 2015
Michael Horowitz (photo: U.S. Dept. of Justice)

Top officials at the U.S. Department of Justice face having their dirty laundry aired as part of a new transparency policy for the agency.


The Justice Department inspector general, Michael Horowitz, has crafted a policy that would release summary reports of misconduct by senior management as well as other investigations of “significant public interest,” according to Government Executive.


The IG probes were previously kept hidden unless the matter was so serious that the department prosecuted those involved and a federal judge authorized the release of the records.


The new policy is already paying off. The IG released a report (pdf) on a U.S. Marshal involved in “intimate personal relationships” with subordinates. The marshal has retired.


Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), a proponent of government accountability, hailed the IG’s new policy for Justice. “This ought to be standard operating procedure for every inspector general,” Grassley told Government Executive. “Their work is too important to keep secret.”


Grassley has introduced a bill, already approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which would require inspectors general across government to report on investigations of misconduct by senior management.


Horowitz also likes the idea of releasing the investigations of senior officials so much that he may push for expanding the policy to other federal departments. He’s in a perfect position to do so as chair of the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, which sets policy for IGs to follow.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Previously Concealed Misconduct Will Soon Become Public for Some Feds (by Eric Katz, Government Executive)

Misconduct at Justice Department Isn’t Always Prosecuted (by Marisa Taylor and Michael Doyle, McClatchy)

Summary of Investigative Findings (Office of Inspector General) (pdf)

Report Reveals Justice Dept. Prosecutors Average 33 Reckless or Intentional Legal and Ethical Violations a Year (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)


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