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Breaking: Grassley and McCaskill Introduce Amendment to Strengthen IG Independence

May 18, 2010 

 

Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) just went to the Senate floor to introduce a combined amendment that will strengthen the independence of certain Inspectors General (IGs), including those that serve as watchdogs within many financial regulatory agencies. The Grassley-McCaskill amendment (SA 4072) is available here.

POGO wrote to the Senate last week in support of this important amendment, which will fix a provision in the Restoring Financial Stability Act (S. 3217) that would convert the IGs at several financial regulatory agencies to presidentially appointed positions. These watchdogs are currently classified as designated federal entities (DFE) IGs, and are appointed by their agency heads.

Although some believe that these IGs will be able to operate with greater independence if they are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, the Grassley-McCaskill amendment offers a better solution. Instead of converting them to presidentially appointed positions, the amendment will require all DFE IGs—including the financial agency watchdogs—to report to the entire board or commission at their agencies. In addition, the amendment requires a two-thirds vote of the entire board or commission in order to remove a DFE IG, making it virtually impossible for any one individual agency head to unilaterally remove an IG for political reasons.

The amendment will also improve coordination between financial agency IGs by connecting them through a new Council of Inspectors General on Financial Oversight (CIGFO).

POGO will keep you posted on any other updates on the Grassley-McCaskill amendment. In the meantime, one can watch the FinReg debate live on C-SPAN2.

UPDATE: The Grassley-McCaskill amendment was just passed by a vote of 75-21.

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Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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