OMB asked to address agency-IG quarrels

Tuesday - 8/12/2014, 1:58pm EDT

By Stephanie Wasko
Special to Federal News Radio

Lawmakers are calling on the Office of Management and Budget to address issues of cooperation between some agencies and their inspectors general.

Members of the Senate and House oversight committees received a letter last week signed by 47 IGs who raised concerns about agencies withholding information. In the letter, federal inspectors general shared the challenges they face in receiving needed information from certain agencies.

Specifically, IGs highlighted problems receiving information from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Justice Department and the Peace Corps, despite the Inspector General Act authorizing IGs to access any information necessary for their investigations.

The lawmakers have now written their own letter to newly-confirmed OMB Director Shaun Donovan asking him to address agencies on the issue. Committee members told Donovan this is not the first time they have heard complaints from IGs.

"Our offices have already spent time working with the affected IGs in an effort to try and help them gain the needed information," the letter from Reps. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said.

Although IGs still receive the information they need the majority of the time, the current situations raise concern, according to the letter sent by committee members.

"In most cases, IG access to requested materials should be beyond question. When conflict arises between an agency and an inspector general, agencies should engage quickly and proactively with the affected inspector general to try to resolve any possible conflicts in a manner that allows the inspector general to do his or her work," the letter said.

The members asked Donovan, who was confirmed as OMB director last month, to use his resources to ensure agencies are cooperating with IGs and that he "take affirmative steps to ensure that all agencies and their staffs are properly informed and trained on the requirements of the Inspector General Act so that IGs receive the information they need to do their jobs."

OMB has not yet commented as they look further into the matter.

Stephanie Wasko is an intern with Federal News Radio.

RELATED STORIES:

IGs warn of potential threats to all inspectors general

GSA's new contracting policy tackles IG's concerns about management interference

Senate confirms housing chief to run budget office