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Lawmakers aim to limit president’s removal of IGs

House Democrats announced on May 22 that they were introducing legislation to protect inspectors general from political retaliation. President Donald Trump has fired or replaced IGs at the Departments of State, Transportation and Defense, in the intelligence community. He has also removed the acting Health and Human Services IG, and the acting Pentagon IG who was chosen to serve as the head of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee created by Congress on March 27, 2020. Observers have noted the removals and replacements may have been linked to investigations involving Trump and his political allies.

An amendment to the 1978 Inspector General Independence Act would require the White House to notify Congress of any firings of IGs and allow an IG to be removed only for one of 10 documented reasons such as neglect of duty, malfeasance, permanent incapacity and abuse of power. The legislation is being sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and others on the Oversight panel.

“Unfortunately, this bill has become necessary because the Trump Administration has launched a campaign against Inspectors General for doing their jobs, for investigating waste, fraud, and abuse, for reporting the truth, and for holding this Administration accountable,” Maloney said in a statement.

In April, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) introduced the Inspectors General Independence Act of 2020, which established seven-year terms for inspectors general and protects them from politically motivated firings by allowing removal only for cause. 

Reader comments

Sat, Jun 6, 2020

More Inspectors General (IG's) have been removed/fired under this presidency in America's history. Something is not right. Time to face the facts.

Wed, May 27, 2020 john crowder ALABAMA

A laudable proposal! Trump has abused the intent of this Act by firing IGs for initiating investigations that could reveal illegitimate actions on his part. That "reason" is not, never has been, and never should be the basis for removing an IG who is simply performing his/her statutory duties!

Wed, May 27, 2020

I'm fine with protecting the IG community. I am still naïve enough to think most IGs are not partisan. However, like the "nuclear option" that Reid introduced and got passed, one day the regime will change and those wishing to "limit the powers of the POTUS" will be required to live with this bill if it passes.

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2020 Digital Almanac

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