Real Clear Politics posted an article today by Victor Davis Hansen that reminds us of the recent history of Inspectors General. The article is titled, “The Silencing of the Inspectors General.”
The article reminds us:
For nearly eight years, the Obama administration sought to cover up serial wrongdoing by waging a veritable war against the watchdog inspectors general of various federal agencies.
In 2014, 47 of the nation’s 73 inspectors general signed a letter alleging that Obama had stonewalled their “ability to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner.”
The frustrated nonpartisan auditors cited systematic Obama administration refusals to turn over incriminating documents that were central to their investigations.
The administration had purportedly tried to sidetrack an IG investigation into possible misconduct by then-Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. In addition, the Obama administration reportedly thwarted IG investigations of Amtrak, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the Office of Management and Budget.
Despite the campaign against these independent federal auditors, a number of inspectors general still managed to issue damning indictments of unethical behavior.
In 2012, Horowitz recommended that 14 Justice Department and ATF officials be disciplined for their conduct in the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal.
A 2013 IG audit found that the IRS had targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny prior to the 2012 Obama re-election effort.
The article cites the 2014 audit that revealed that the CIA had hacked Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers. In 2016, it was revealed that Hillary Clinton had never sought approval for her private email server. Obviously the Inspectors General were not successful in holding people in government accountable for their actions in these various scandals. The Inspectors General do not have the power the criminally prosecute, but they can refer people for criminal prosecution. Obviously, there are a number of cases where this needs to be done.
The article concludes:
Soon, various inspector general reports may appear concerning FISA court abuse and improper behavior at the Department of Justice, FBI, CIA and National Security Council during the 2016 campaign cycle. The investigators are, for the most part, Obama appointees, not Trump appointees.
At some point, the idea of toothless inspectors general needs to be revisited. Something is terribly wrong when dozens of IGs found wrongdoing, only to object that their efforts were being thwarted by an Obama administration that had appointed most of them — and claimed to be scandal-free.
Finding government abuse and doing nothing about it is worse than not finding any at all.