tv Role of Inspectors General CSPAN July 9, 2018 10:02am-11:37am EDT
about climate change, but is really hard topics you have to experience to really understand. >> will watch the communicative tonight on c-span2. >> president trump will announs nominee for the supreme court filling the vacancy left by retiring justice anthony kennedy. watch the announcement live tonight at 9 p.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> we are live as the bipartisan policy center's oversight task force will be releasing a report examining ways to enhance and streamline the workout inspectors general. this is just getting underway. >> meeting for you with the former inspectors general, former members of the administration both in cabinet
positions as well as management or your positions like omb and people who have worked on capital and oversight positions. this subject is important i think for our interest in institutions because it is an executive branch position, the inspector general, that is oversight responsibilities within the department helps keeping our departments honest and also improving their capacity to manage and govern but it is also an institution that has responsibility to congress and for the second, for the branch of government, legislative branch to oversee, to properly account for what its laws and spending are taking place, the inspector general is an important institution that contributes to that. we have today is a series of two panels, beginning with dan blair, the leader of this task
force. we are brought in to bpc to relive on this work is run much of a work of oversight, congressional oversight in particular. dan has a background on capitol hill, also in the executive branch had and at the national academy of public administration. dan is going to run through this, what are the highlights in the motor from some of the task force members, the inspectors general, the members of congress, the department heads as well as those who have been engaged in congressional oversight. i'm going to turn to dan blair who will lead us off in the first session. >> thank you, john. those i very kind words. very much appreciate that introduction and it's been a pleasure working with you and matt are in this project. you both have brought tremendous leadership to the effort. i'm very excited about today's events. it was about a year ago at the time i first sat down with john
to discuss this project. we discussed the need for better oversight and the role that the inspectors general play. our task was to how to enhance oversight with a deep dive into how the inspectors a general operate in this oversight framework. we formed a bipartisan task force of stellar form of public administration officials with experience ranging from cabinet secretary to member of congress to presidential appointees, former senior health staff and three well-respected former ig's. and we recognize the work comes at a pivotal moment in ig history since it is the 40th anniversary of the ig act. i want to take this opportunity to congratulate our task force members beginning with ed who can't be with us today. arnie fields, dan glickman, jim huse, john mchugh, robert shea, betty lou taylor, dave williams and denise wilson for
an outstanding job as members of the special task force on government oversight and the ig's. we had a phenomenal brain trust the put together this report, and please join in honoring them today. when asked you all to stand. [applause] >> during our meetings over this past year we had first-class knowledgeable speakers, and i want to thank them all for the contributions to the report. we start off with the department of justice ig and the chair of the council ig for integrity and efficiency michael horowitz. state department ig's steve linthicum dod ig glenn fine, hhs ig dan levinson, and omb dustin brown. when we discussed the role of ig's they were very direct in framing our report.
ig's are an integral part of agency management, and their oversight role in reporting to congress and the agency had gives them a unique vantage point in helping shape good governance and good agency management. we heard from other luminaries, too, the comptroller general, seasoned hill staffers who knew the value or know the value of ig's, colluding one of our panels today, beth stein with the senate h.e.l.p. committee. ig's from the small agencies, well-known academics, fellow nonprofits with a mission to assist in good government, and media who cover ig's. i'm pleased to report that our publications today oversight matters what is next with the ig's, formally released. copies are available in the back of the room and this report makes concrete actionable recommendations to the president, congress, agency heads, ig's and the council of ig's for integrity and
efficiency. and the council provides a governmentwide forum for ig's in issues of interest to this morning we have two panels to discuss our findings and recommendations, and our first then panel will be moderated by my colleague michael. michael, you were essential in putting this report together and it's been a real pleasure working with you during this time. michael will be discussing with dan glickman, john mchugh, arnie fields and dave williams, where the ig's fit into the oversight framework and offer recommendations for improvement. our second panel will be moderated by task force member robert shea. and he will lead the discussion with task force members jim huse and denise wilson. and chief of his accounts for the minority staff on the senate h.e.l.p. committee beth stein is also one of our speakers. earlier in the year and deputye ig and former senior health staffer and expert on the ig, emilia disanto.
they will discuss how to use the lessons learned from the past ig experiences to prepare ig's for success in the years ahead. each panel of time for audience q&a and will be available after the program for additional questions. at this time i would also like to recognize my colleague mccallie johnson who will be doing the wrapup at the end of today's program. michael and mccallie were tremendous partners in producing this report, and it's been my pressure to be able to work with both of you. i also think might bpc colleagues beverly, brenda who kept a logistic and task members informed our intern joshua, carolyn cooper, toby, and entire bpc democracy project team. and also a very special thank you goes to our funders, the democracy fund and the foundation baking this event and
report possible. every morning it seems we wake up with another headline reporting on waste, fraud, and abuse and what the ig's are doing to bring this to the publics attention. ig's are critically to executive branch oversight and the accountability and transparency necessarily for public trust in our institutions. however, we recognize that most of the work is done outside the headlines and developing constructive working relationships with agency management can help them and their respective department agency address issues before they become problems that blow up and make headlines. the public good is best served by a constructive relationship between an ig and the agency. congress created ig's not just as watchdogs to serve in its own oversight needs, but also to assist agencies in better coaching their missions. we highlight in a report our observation that ig's and agency heads often keep too much
distance between one another resulting in missed opportunity to improve federal programs and operations. agency heads tend to be wary of ig's during their work may lead to an embarrassing report. and some ig's maintain excessive distance a tween themselves and the agency to bolster their independence. it's time for a culture shift. ig's need to be brought more into the fold of the management of the agencies are also respecting ig independence. they must have a seat at the agency table. this doesn't compromise their independence. on the contrary, it gives ig's insight into current agency priorities and activities and allows for ig's to be proactive in flagging issues a common to their attention. rather than waiting for problems to develop and claiming credit for investigating them later. congress has a role to play. it needs to support ig's and the council to sink in. they need to engage ig's more
in informal ways outside the public hearing process and use the ig's work when they develop their oversight plans. and ig's converter engage congress by making themselves and their staff more publicly accessible. and the ig's are evolving as an institution do we found council of ig's otherwise known as -- has made great progress since its inception ten years ago. the focus on crosscutting issues that spend department and agency lines is welcome and will continue to grow as a government tackles difficult policy choices across departmental jurisdictions. we endorse them a dedicated funding stream and in our report we recommend some ways to do it. we note the number of vacancies in ig positions and urged the president to move probably and nominate qualified candidates to fill vacancies, and urge the senate to do its constitutional,
advice and consent on a timely basis. our report is into much greater detail, and to discuss these recommendations i would now like to turn over the program to our first panel to be moderated by michael. good morning, michael, and welcome to our task force members who will be joining him. [applause] >> i would like to get started by thinking a day and who provided tremendous leadership and direction to this effort. without him i don't think we would be here this morning, so thank you, dan. thank you all for being on the panel. we are here with distinguished group of individuals who know a lot about oversight and they know a lot about the ig's. start right to my left, dan
glickman, former secretary of agriculture and served for 18 years as u.s. representative from kansas. next to him, john mchugh who served from 1993-2009 as the u.s. representative from new york and after that he served as secretary of the army. dave williams who was had an extraordinary career as an inspector general, served most recently as the u.s. postal service inspector general but prior to that served at the department of treasury as the treasury inspector general for tax administration, at the social security administration and at the u.s. nuclear regulatory commission. truly extraordinary number of posts as an inspector general. and we have an individual is both a former inspector general and also a general, general
arnie fields served 34 years in the united states marine corps and then was appointed in 2008 as the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction. thank you all for being on the panel. thank you for your efforts and this task force. let's jump right in. secretary mchugh, secretary glickman, you both have actually been on both sides of this. you serve as members of congress performance oversight over the executive branch and you serve in the executive branch, and you i'm sure had a lot of interaction with inspectors generals, inspectors general in both those roles and you probably have also seen some of your colleagues get into some trouble with inspectors general. so let's start with you. one of the things the task force found was that inspectors
general and agencies need to work more collaboratively rather than adversarial he. secretary mchugh, maybe we can start with you. why might department head or an agency later be hesitant to do that? >> well, one of the quotes that was included in the report was when i said, generally speaking, department heads, agency heads try to keep a distance from an ig because when they show up at your office it's rather like having a 60 minutes film crew come to the front door. it's not considered a happy day, and that's unfortunate. because while clearly ig's are there to root out waste, fraud, and abuse, that's generally not a happy day for an agency head when that happens. but it seems to me as dan indicated, the drift has gone too far. and what i tried to do, and dan and i talked about this quite aa
bit during our panel discussions, was to bring in our inspector general more close as part of the management team, saying in the army you want to get left of the bank. that means simply you want to get ahead of the problem before it becomes explosive. and ig's can be an invaluable tool for that if they are used wisely. you have to have their independence, but we try to make our ig a regular part of management team just so they were very well aware of what was happening internally, and have an eye for the kind of thing that most agency heads don't want to see happen, , can be vey useful tool in first on those kinds of events. >> secretary glickman, you had as you told us a very unique, let's say, relationship with your ig registered as secretary of agriculture help us more about that. why did it develop in that way,
and what was the result. >> first of all, thank you for having this. i think this is really important report that hope gets implement both legislative as well as in practice. my ig's you became a very good friend is a beat cop in new york, was the chief auditor for the fbi, and the inspector general for the department of agriculture. so he was no one to mess with, okay? i came into the department of agriculture at the time when my predecessor resigned. in part as of the investigative work done by the ig. so i walked into this department as a member of congress, as you did, and after of course been confirmed it was strongly suggested to me that the first person i go see is the inspector general and become his friend. now, it turned out by the way that my predecessor at the time, secretary acosta, was also
acquitted of all charges of fraud against him. and that is a candidate for the senate in mississippi, democrat nominee of the sites that point, i decided i had too recent go see that ig. one, i did not want to go the way of secretary sp went and so wanted to preserve my own job, job security was quite frankly suffers with a big part of it. >> and stay out of jail. [laughing] >> that was implicit because criminal prosecution was not what had in mind when i took this cabinet job. and so i talked to him about that case and why did it happen and what i could avoid doing to make sure that i was on his right side, , and we worked outn arrangement where we develop a personal arrangement in terms of issues that were going on in the department of agriculture. this is a huge department, does
everything from the force service to food stamps to farm to food safety, and there were an million problems every day. and so he says i'll be straight with you if you be straight with me. and so i thought that his advice was very good. as result of that i included him in all my cabinet meetings when had my senior management team together. because i figured, one, he and his team knew more about program administration and many of the undersecretaries did and so is helpful to have them there because, to hear was going on and it was a little bit intimidating at first as people would walk around and see this x beat cop there looking at them. but right are used to bring in donuts and bagels on occasion and a cat to be friendlier, as time went on. but it also found to be extremely helpful in helping me deal with problems. for example, the operation of the food stamp. now the step program and how to make it more efficient and work better for recipients, and his
team helped in the development of the ebt card would replace the actual stamp. so he was able to actually help the political and career teams who were involved in various programs do their jobs better. and i think in part that had to do with my personal relationship with him, which is really important, for cabinet secretaries and deputy secretaries to have a personal relationship with the ig, work together, be in a position of trust, no surprises. i didn't agree with him a lot. i used to tell him, you know, you are doing this wrong way and he would say well, i understand i have to do it this way. he would sometimes talk to me, i never had a moment like my predecessor did, distrust. if they could help the department do much better. >> dave williams, i might ask you from an inspector general
perspective, obviously inspectors general can do a lot to help the agencies improve the management of programs and just the general operations, but both secretary glickman and secretary mchugh have talked to bring the ig in sort of closer to work in a better, close working relationship. why might an ig be hesitant to do that, and should they? >> i was part of the initial hiring of ig's all the way back in 1978 and have a lot of respect for this piece of legislation, and congress have been great about amending it all along for a very changing world. we did a word cloud of the ig act, the big word in the workload would be independence. the framers thought that it was hugely important that ig's the independent. they wanted them to be effective. they didn't want them to be directed or misdirected away from the important matters out to the margins of the operations
of the department. and i wanted ig's to be credible. they knew that no one would believe an investigation if the investigation was done by the subject of the investigation, someone investigated themselves, or is conducted by a subordinate inside the organization, or a team player inside the organization. so they wanted the ig's to stand apart. and also wanted the audits to be the same way. they didn't want departments grading their own papers, all of those reasons for it. the third thing they wanted was justice at all costs. even if the world ends because of it, we want justice. living in an unjust world isn't really living. so there was a dedication to that and sometimes it really wrecks the place. to take up somebody who is essential or really well-liked
inside the organization i think the "washington post" said one time, ig's sometimes pit war against order instead of enforce law and order. when the disaster strikes, which is when you really need everybody, , all hands on deck,n theory i just supposed to stand back from battle, keep the uniform clean, do come in after it over and sort of understand what caused it, what might fix it. so they are careful not to give themselves a little bit pregnant because they will end up judging their own work or something that they built. it's a very clean ferry, fortune, the world is not a very clean place. it's really messy. and ig's usually at the end of a major catastrophe, disaster or opportunity in depth with the same mud and blood and beer and what else has on them from the department. so that theory is important and
as a place, but the real world also is important to respond to. so these leave you pristine, chris, clean uniform, or are you wait in? if you wait into that yet to constantly be thinking about that word independence and what it means. and when you wait in, the department head had stick of rd it's really risky. in looking at the disaster you spread out all the pretty things and the ugly things on top of the table to think what are we going to do? how are we going to it? the alternative is that the ig could come out of this and i would understand what occurred. and remain at the market. most ig's live with this messy situation with regard to pristine independence, and to live with risk and uncertainty,
and they take chances, which is very odd. they are doing all this for the public and they either don't know them at all or they barely met some of them, the members come and get they've been called upon to risk everything. another messy think is when you're in the staff meeting and you investigating people around the table, and there are instances where i've been there days before, hours before they were removed as result of one of the reports. so you can develop a very interesting, clean, theoretical model but it is messier than that. when the postal service was one of the agencies recently hacked, a computer intrusion by a foreign intelligence service, the ig actually found, our office actually found it. we found this little beacon who sending of this message, set up, i'm assembled, ready to receive assignments. we alerted the postal service
but they still needed it for weeks and longer to follow the intruder around, to isolate the part that had been compromised, then suddenly one morning to kill it all, including the parts of the system that had been contaminated. that was not very independent of me, but the alternative would have been that the entire system was compromise and we would hao go into a greenfield and build it all over again. so the ig's typically confided with this dilemma, and i going to be moralistic or am i going to be moral? unlikely to be theoretical or am i going, i i know where i needo be and i'm going to do it, and i know that's a world of risk and possible compromise. the ig's are intended to be part of a symbol of a great nation.
that invites self-criticism, the violence of justice, and continues to improve it. none of those are very fun to do, and part of a a nation that wants to get it right more than it wants to look good. and that's not a thing that many nations are capable of. the kind of reports that you see, the kind of reports that michael horowitz without a couple of weeks ago, and a number of countries would've gotten killed or run off. so it's great that we have this, it's great that we have a nation that is dedicated to deriving its just hours from the consent of the people and the ig's are a piece of that legacy and that value proposition. >> thank thank you, david. turn to general field. ig's have unique role in our system that report to the agency and their expected report to
congress. it's the do reporting -- dual reporting, relationship can be pretty complicated, and for instance, of congress and the ig's are not always on the same page about what the ig's role is, the priorities a type of things the ig should be investigating. certainly congress quite often tells the ig what they should be investigating but they're not always on the same page. there's a a bit of a disconnec. what can we do to try to overcome that to improve executive branch oversight? >> thank you, sir. let me first say how honored i've been to serve on the task force, and particularly honored to city with this distinguished panel. studying a very important and timely subject, let me preface my response to your question by first establishing my experience as an inspector general.
the office that i was privileged to hold and still exist actually in someone else's capacity now, the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction, a new office that the congress legislated, and we, along with myself, i, were honored to stand up that office. so we were a little bit different than the normal inspector general office. we were virtually an independent agency within the federal establishment. so we did not have some of the leg irons, if you will, where the inspector general's report to an agency, per se, , as wells to congress. yes, we did report equally according to the legislation, to the secretary of defense and to the secretary of state.
neither one of those folks i felt ever got in my way and accomplishing my work. in fact, neither one ever invited me to brief them. i requested to brief them, and they acquiesced to my request, and i was very honored by that. i often state that being an inspector general and reporting to an agency is like being a family member and you are police or highway patrolman, and you pull over your parents in the morning, and you issue that parent a ticket for speeding. but in the evening you sit at the dinner table and you have a normal conversation with your parent. that is the challenge, , i would
say, being an inspector general in the normal sense of the 1973 federal inspectors general that report to book an agency and to the congress of the united states. now, back to your question, how can we deal with it, i would suggest two or three points. the first of which is the inspectors general are selected from a select group of leaders, and there is an expectation that each one of the inspectors general exercise that leadership, the leadership that has brought them to where they were at the time they were appointed, and the leadership that the exercise in the respective roles as inspectors general. something to exercise that leadership both in dealing with the respective agency head and with the congress of the united states. in the marine corps we have two
types of expectations when it comes to moral leadership. moral leadership which means you do the right thing even in the midst of considerable challenge and to include press even losing her job. and then there's the physical courage, talking about courage,, moral courage and physical courage. the physical courage are those physical things that i was military men and women are expected to do. i am referencing the moral courage that inspectors general need to exercise, especially those that report to an agency and even the agency invites them to sit at their respective management table. so the first point, exercise the leadership. my second point would say that we need to educate, and this can be a unilateral effort on behalf of an individual inspector
general, but it could also be a collective effort that perhaps the cigie could lead, where that is an interface on a recurring basis, perhaps twice a year, semiannually, with the congress of the united states. but in between the day-to-day kind of activity that an individual inspector general and his or her staff might exercise the staff on capitol hill as well as the congressmen and women themselves. at times the congress will ask an inspector general to do something that is beyond his or her capability or capacity, and might not even be consistent with the expectations of a 1978 inspectors general actor is worthy aware the other element of courage comes into play. the inspectors general needs to have the moral courage to say no, or that this is inconsistent with the legislation, or it is
inconsistent with my capacity as an inspector general. i have testified before congress in the queue in my role as inspector general, and i felt during my testimony that he respected the inspector general. he made no attempt that i can recall to embarrass me as a witness before his committee. and this is another factor that an inspector general is carrying out a very sensitive role with a lot of independence of supporting that role, and he think that the congress should respect that independence and protect the independence, otherwise we lose the reason for which inspectors general were established in the first place. thank you. >> going to ask one requested and then we will turn over to the committee with the audience. be thinking of your questions but i just want to call on this
congress thread a little more. ig's make many recommendations for agencies of how things can be improved. how can congress follow up on those and encourage agencies to actually effectuate them? that seems to be another problem. >> well, first of all, oversight is perhaps, if it's not the most important thing congress does, it's near the top. the executive branch has immense powers to do a lot of things. both john and i served in executive branch and the legislative branch, so there's got to be some relief that oversight is critical. we have had great overseers in her history from chuck grassley to john dingell, and everybody in between, a maid that the core of their function, to make sure congress did their oversight and the executive branch did things the right way and politics began in most cases.
that's being challenged all of it today, this politics be damned. the damn politics is getting in the way, into many kinds of oversight situations. the other thing that as a member of congress, i felt we had a couple of champions on our committee. i was on the agriculture community and the judiciary committee, and that anybody would be involved in oversight but having heavy congressional champions of oversight on every committee is really important, like the grassley and the john dingell example. the third thing i point out is i was always kind of confused as a member of congress, although people said that was just a part of me, about the relationship between the gao and the ig. i know i think we're going to do some more gao related subjects but often we would go let's get the gao to do this, because they were of course an arm of congress, and the ig's were in the executive branch.
i think that clarity of that is really, really important as congress looks at things that need to be investigated. i would just end by saying i'm a big advocate of article one is the congress, not the executive branch. the founding fathers were very clear on that. so congress isn't doing its oversight work carefully and thoughtfully, it is not doing the job the founding fathers wanted them to do. >> i was, and a true the other panelists feel similarly, incredibly impressed by the congressional staffers we had come in and talk to us about their understanding of the kinds of things that dan just mentioned, the interface between ig's, gao, et cetera. my experience is that while you absolutely have particular congressional staff who are
expert plus in these kinds of activities, and i think the report indicates there is a need to more broadly educate the congressional staff. so they can help themselves do a better job of oversight, and we try to come as i said, address some of the factor. as to michael, your question, how can congress help the ig's were jeff open findings which always a huge problem, i got to the army, some of the ig recommendations had been opened for years with scant any attention at all. and that takes a closer collaboration between the ig's and the members on the hill themselves. and so what we try to do in this report is encourage that kind of a better understanding, to look at the requirements that congress put on the ig's. again, in the army we had a
situation will be did the math. we actually had more mandatory training hours everyday than the worth hours in the day. so it's probably a good time to kind of we look at the kinds of things congress has in their annual mandated report to see all our still necessary. at the end of the day because of that closer collaboration, that better understand, i think you can help congress to better oversee the agencies with respect to this open recommendations. some just become irrelevant overtime but there are many out there that, for whatever reason, lack of attention, lack of understanding by the agency heads have not been followed through on, and congress over several it seems to me should include making sure that those things are executed and brought to a conclusion. >> let's go ahead and will get
right, turn over to q&a, here from the audience. we ask, say your name and the also be sure that your question is a question and we will be happy to get our panelists to answer. let's go right here down front. right of peer to dawn. >> i'm wondering if there has been a change in investigative versus programmatic oversight over let's say the last 20 years that we can to get the headlines with the wrongdoing, investigations going on someone. he's congress falling down on programmatic oversight, and what extent do ig's get involved with both? >> actually i think they're probably has been a change that occurred some time to time as to whether the emphasis is on fixing ongoing after wrongdoing
in government. i think they are both extremely important, and in antiquity there were two views of sin. the greeks believed that if you committed sin you are not complete. that's the audit approach, and the romans believed that you engage in evil, that's the investigative approach. those have proven to be, i don't know who thought of that, who thought to put those two together for the first time ever, but it was brilliant and it covers the spectrum of things that we encounter. and both of those tools are very, very important. i wouldn't yield to it. >> i don't think your greek history in the support. >> the only thing i would circle the times time that the investigative arm is, leaps into the programmatic changes chang. i mentioned the issue of food stamps multibillion-dollar program, and there were a lot of cases, not in the big scheme of things but a lot of very
publicized cases of food stamp fraud, taken with smaller retailers, and the ig's did a lot of investigations. it were a lot of criminal cases involving there were even some of terrorist links, but out of that and then we were able to make some programmatic changes including moving to ebt card and away from the stamps themselves. in fact, the ig's had a lot to do with helping as design those programs. of the to kind of go together. >> eric. we have two as an ig's here, but sometimes an ig is not as outstanding as the two of you. and i took a quick look at the report. i didn't have a chance to read it fully, but i saw nothing in it about, when i found in my experience in two administrations to be almost complete lack of host of inspectors general.
and if you have an ig himself or herself is not up to it, neither inspector general nor the white house or anybody else know the hill seems able to get a handle on that. i lived there and expense like that. i was not directly involved but i got to watch it. i'm disappointed that the report, i guess i need to have a question, should the report assets a pic about the lack of oversight of ig? thanks. >> we do in part, and i think importantly, talk about the responsibility of congress, ensuring that those people selected as ig's are truly qualified pursuant to the 1970 act. i think you could logically come although the words don't stated specifically, proceed from there and say that you have to make sure that an ig is acting responsibly. it's easy to say there's a lack of oversight of ig's but i
think oversight has to be predicated upon concern and complaint. you don't want a standing ig investigation committee looking at ig's everyday, but if congress or an agency head gets the report against an ig, and that does need to be followed up and followed through. i can't speak for the rest of the panelists but i thought that was rather self-evident. >> i also think this again is the role of secretaries or the head of the department. that's tricky because that ig may be doing an investigation of programmatic review that directly affects the department at the highest levels. but i felt comfortable telling my ig you're going down the wrong road on this. and i wasn't particularly worried that he is going to do anything to me. and other i think, i recall when i was there we had one cabinet member who was in a constant whirling battle with his ig. i won't say who that was come
although he is now the governor of the state of new york. [laughing] but it wasn't anything further about it. and i don't know the nature of the circumstances, but i'm sure that spilled over into the building of the ig to do his or her job as well as it should come at an usher who is right and he was wrong. but i think when you are confirmed to be the head of an agency or department, that's one of your responsibilities. even though the reporting is to the executive branch and necessarily directly to you because they have a defined term. there's really no else that's going to know how things are going inside the department and the secretary of the deputy secretary, and they've got to take that responsibility on. that's what got to include the ig's as much as you can in your management team. that what i think it tends to make it an easy place to manage.
>> actually, if i could ig position is a very dangerous position, , if you look at the history many, many have been driven out of their positions and there is a lot of oversight. from the secretary, the white house is directly fired several of the ig's, the press and certainly congress, are best friends also harshest critics. so it's been a dangerous position. the line that has to remain in place, the thick red line that you cannot fire and ig out of retaliation for their telling the truth. and so it has been a bias against crossing that line, but if we cross that line i'm not sure there's a reason to have ig's. >> general fields, any thoughts? >> thank you. i will pile on to what secretary mchugh said about what's in the task force document. there is a reference to this,
but probably not at the level of detail so that you are suggesting. so i think on the front end load of the inspector general process, the selection, nomination, and confirmation and so forth of inspectors general, that's where the scrutiny should actually take place at a think there is probably enough in our backgrounds to suggest how successful one is going to be at inspector general. but i will tell you during my tenure as an inspector job there was no paucity of oversight from the six committees to which the inspector general, sigar, national inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction reports, and the significant degree of oversight, if you will, from the general public. so i think a lot of this is
going on what i understand your point, sure. thank you. >> we have time for one last quick one right here. >> i'm an attorney in private practice, and i, over the years, been involved in different cases where i either made inquiries to the inspector general, one agency called the postal service was one of them, and also hide about the community felt that block grant funds. also reached out to people on the hill -- hud -- it data ando me or i never hear back or they are busy. i really wonder if of these inquiries, let's do something written up in the "washington post" at something like, for example, secretary carson spending 31,000 on furniture when, in fact, committed billions of dollars at stake that nobody seems to be caring about in the community development block grant funds. how did agencies and congress pick which things are going to really do oversight on and
follow up with? >> a little bit of time, so maybe if each of thoughts or just one or two of you. >> well, you know, as far as a political head of a department you've got responsibility to talk to your team and you get to set your priorities, and the ig has to be part of that effort, too, to know what those priorities are. but i would say to you that if you were not getting a response from your ig or somebody in that department, somebody wasn't doing their job somewhere. and so who do you then complain to, or, well, congressman or senator, or you complain to the head of the agency or his or her designee. and i had a couple of cases where people claimed abuse by the ig. and would come to me and i told
my chief of staff, if that ever happens i do what you talk to anybody else except me or our general counsel. and if i get it some series of the talk to them about it. so if they are not responded to you, there is a failure in the management system of the organization, and that's the best i can tell you. >> i think, and we talked about this during our deliberations, there's a lack of bandwidth at times. i don't mean that to be an excuse. i fully agree with secretary clinton, you should've gotten at least the courtesy of a response, and that's not right. but what we do find is that when ig's sit down and try to develop their work program, and our cases i think we worked together with the ig to point out with our administrative targets were, by the time the congress lays down its required reports, et cetera, et cetera, the available bandwidth from
complaints, concerns come from the outside are severely limited. we do talk about in this report how we could better assign support and assist teams to go to certain, particularly smaller department ig's which wasn't the case, not the instance in your case, but there is a bandwidth problem, but none of that should excuse a concern or response, a complaint that goes on unaddressed or at least unacknowledged. >> actually, i was in the bandwidth issue is a real one. we received about 40,000 hotline calls in addition to the concerns of employees and the unions and management associations and a hill, and the work that we knew was important to do from our own analysis. several things can happen from a complaint. they can be looked into and found to not have basis. they can add to very important
body of knowledge and source business intelligence for the audit side or the could result in an investigation here but i think our helpline had six people on it. it was one of the big ones, state lines, and there do need to be some decisions made with regard to how to spend resources. they are all too small, all of the ig's are sort of understaffed. this isn't set to be made, do you staff the ig or do stuff the program that provides food stamps or whatever service, or in the case of the postal service, mail carriers and people that sort the mail. so that is a problem there. there are also a number of things that we received that turn turned out not to be true, that it either ill motivated or
misinformed, and we need to conduct that kind of triage as well. >> that's about all time for this benefit like to thank the panelists for coming today and also for the work on this report, and robert shea for moderate our next panel. [applause] >> thank you, michael. tough act to follow. if i could ask our panelists to join me. and while they're taking a seat let me introduce come to my left, emilia disanto emma deputy inspector general for the u.s. department of state and the broadcasting board of governors. deep experience in the subject. she and i were exchanging war stories in the middle of the last panel. jim huse on my very far left, inspector conformer inspector
general at the social security administrative answer for many years as an agent of the u.s. secret service, rising to the rank of assistant director. beth stein releases as general counsel for ranking member patty murray on ascent health, education, labor and pensions committee. and denise wilson was a special assistant to the president in office alleges that affairs and a senior member legislative team on the house committee for government reform and oversight. so thank you all for joining me and for your contributions to this report. i want to start with a broad overarching question for all of you. you've been steeped in his for a long time. give me your perspective on the evolution of this community, the inspectors general and their mission since enactment of the inspector general act of 1978. starting with you, emilia. >> show. i got involved with the ig community in 1986 when the board of directors looked at me when they had to have ig's in my
board of directors looked to mexico make one. and i said what? vacant ig office, just let it what it is and go do it. i said okay, and i found myself at the pc ie meeting for the first of and i walked into a large room and they were like 50 people there and they stop talking. i walked in. since that time i've been very involved with the ig community also the oversight of the ig committee while i was on capital for 16 years, and i said over the last number of years, the ig commute has gotten a little bit larger and it's also time considerable more diverse overtime. i've watched that diversity and now i'm part of that diversity. they are in visiting the catalyst for positive change, is also a theme that goes through
out the ig community and that is also the issue of more enhanced transparency. the fact they should go to a website, and i would oversight.gov, you can come right now on the state department website and you can see all the open recommendations and what the change is every month as far as open recommendations go. i even working on a virtual czar who were trying to introduce the people can have more real-time information regarding our activities. so that's what i've seen over the years. >> so i would say that over the time i've been working with the ig community, our new pressures on the community because of technology and an enhanced need for speed and coordination. i work for the help committee where we are very large inspector general and very small ones, and i have seen an increased struggle particularly for the small ones to meet the
demands that are being imposed on them and to think what it thinks that this report will help to stimulate his better coordination and addressing some of those challenges. >> i think if you look back since the act was first enacted in 1978, up to now you will find that initially focusing on more waste, fraud, and abuse. i think we've taken that and as david williams said it's very important to have that but i think we are also focusing on what i call the three ease which is also commits also included in the original act, that is to focus a better promote the economy, , the efficiency and effectiveness of the work that the ig's do toward improving agency operations and also to improve agency performance and also through management improvements as will fix i think
we are in addition to embracing the waste, fraud, and abuse also looking for ways to help agencies improve their operations by taking a look at lessons learned from ig audits and investigation, and i think that the end of the day that will move us toward a more evidence-based agenda which i think at the end of the day will also federal government to approve. and that's all based upon how ig's have evolved over the decades. >> they certainly have evolved, that's for sure. i think what the report brings out is the absolute necessity to vet candidates for inspector general. very thoroughly and also looking over the 40 years of ig's,
there have been all different kinds for a period of time, ig's were senior people in government, or retired, people that came back to the flag, so to speak, a thin for for a purf time there was a ration -- then for a part of time there was a ration of law-enforcement people people. now today i think there's a balance in the selection, and the process itself seems to have more analysis and that's really very, very important. ..
i.g.'s are effective as office manager. identifying which was within your own organization, particularly because you must be sure of the integrity of the information that you have and what better way to do it then have the district management office within your own office? that assesses that were your own organization. that's what i see or the future or at least look forward to. >> i would say that a good i.g. is a good i.g. and that is not something that's going to change. it is the person who has the courage to be independent, not captured by the agency but also doesn't take into hubris and is convinced they know betterthan agency, then thesecretary, then the career staff . that's a hard thing to do . you kind of know it when you see it. with regard to the future, i agree that data analytics is
where the focus needs to be but i would say also the i.g. needs to be pushing the agency. the agencies in my opinion are not doing enough to implement data analytics and determine their own riskand when that can be a good collaboration, i think it can be very good . >> i want to piggyback on everything including what the first panel was talking about but in addition to strength and integrity, now we are looking at people who can tell it straight, and also provide solutions so we can see improvements and also be proactive. i had a really good rapport with one of our i.g.'s in particular, david wilson was the i.g. for the postal service and he had an exceptional guy who headed his congressional affairs office and we had detailed probably weekly discussions on the work of the i.g. and also where the committee
house oversight and government could assist the i.g. in doing audits and investigation also where we could improve programs and also management. so being able to communicate effectively with congress and be proactive, i think our attributes that we are going to see in greater detail in terms of what they are going to be doing with congress. >> to piggyback on that, we've got a lot of discussion on it in the previous panel . but the relationship with congress. you talked about having a good legislative affairs person. it's a key post, key capability of inspector general offices . talk a little bit more about
what's needed to strengthen the relationship between congress and the inspector general. more importantly, what has tricked them up in the past and what lessons can we learn on where folks have made mistakes ? >> i think that was covered in the first panel as well. i.g.'s really have to have their finger on the balls and in order to have their finger on the polls, either the i.g. office or cd needs to be in touch with congress via congressional staff and important members to educate them as to what the office does as opposed to what gao does and i think there was at then griffin says, there's confusion at times as to who does what i think the education is key and also the establishing of rapport with these offices and key staff is important and i think if you are ableto keep that thought , that well for your future activity. >> i feel like there is still some reluctance on the part of some i.g.'s to be in
regularcommunication with congress. in some offices, they feel like they might be bothering you . >> the inspectors general feel like they are bothering congress . >> i'll do my work and i'll call when there's something they need to know. i have one agency that asked for collaboration on their workplan. that's a valuable model and i think the otherdirection, one congress as the i.g.'s come in regularly to brief, not just the committee but maybe legislative staff as a whole, your building those relationships in a valuable way . >> you think those relationships are stronger with the oversight committee and not with the authorizing committee? or across-the-board. >> i'd say on the authorizing committee, i encouraged them to do more.>> one of the key points in the report is the organization of the i.g. community and this issue with
congress, certainly has a lot to do with how effectively the i.g. community communicates with congress but there are obviously, there's more focus for i.g.'s then they really have vision four. there are limited by their budgets and people from doing everything that's in the universe challenges for fraud, waste and abuse and the three e's so i i.g. have to steer through this and in this report we the way they are organized and perhaps the opportunity there to perhaps
provide szygy support in a more formal and budgeted way that it exists today. especially around some of the more difficult areas where we have to keep pace, like cyber issues, it . anyway, i think that's an important part of our report. >> neil, you are not going to remain silent on this. >> something i implemented in our office to ensure that congress will always be in front of congress and not behindcongress , and one thing that we do is we
produce a two pager every month. we provided to our authorized committees on the house and senate . that report is very quick, very easy. these are the reports that went out, these are the reports and audience we are starting. these are the investigations that have concluded and this is the status of our return on investment. we provide to several hundred individuals every single month so that they know what we are doing. second thing we do is we ensure we have a bipartisan bicameral meeting at least once a year, sometimes twice a year after the issuance of the semiannual report so that people have an opportunity to ask questions. they know what you are doing. they understand what are the trends and the other thing is the preparation of the management challenges. separation of the mounds
management challenges is an annual event for the i.g. and those challenges need to be a thread through the work of the i.g. community to identify core problems, root causes that have corrupted or have an incredible impact on the organization. as far as having, i came up with this and the first one i have is communicate, communicate and then communicate some more with congress. second one i have is no surprises. members don't want to be surprised. you have a large investigation and it involves a company and a member district. if you want them to know that. you don't want a member to have a microphone, put up in front of them and see what happened to so and so and they don't know. take care of that and you
tell the good with the bad. next, staff members. they matter. a lot. don't waste your time and tell them what they don't know. they don't need youtelling them they already know . tell them what theydon't know . next, you know they have a long memory, trynot to make mistakes . don't. [bleep] them off. >> exactly. they have long memories. >> next, trust matters. trust matters. you need to have respect for the numbers and the members have respect for you and disabled through with staff and having good relationships with staff. next, preempt problems. we live in a world of the whistleblower. whistleblowers can be an it staff member, could be an agency member. be upfront with members.
if you don't know whistleblowers coming in, they're going to come in, let them know ahead of time area everybody's on the same wavelength . and last but not least, be bipartisan always. always the bipartisan on whatever issues that you're dealing with and that will help keep your i.g. and the community in good standing withcongress . >> to follow on what amelia has just articulated, all of this and the comments from ourfirst panel are excellent comments . points to the fact that i.g.'s have to be very extraordinary people and so the selection in staffing and recruitment of i.g.'s through the process has to be something thatpeople pay
attention to . and insist on getting the best people for this particular unique position in government. today we have vacancies in i.g.'s that have been there for over several years in some cases. and that speaks to issues of politics and and changes in the administration but you can't have i.g.'s operating effectively without a i.g. in place. i just bet on.
>> we have a couple minutes for one question and i will open it up to theaudience . we mentioned explicitly others have alluded to focus oneffectiveness . a program can be beautifully run and be absent any race, fraud or abuse but still not achieving an impact. what is the inspector general's role in advising congress and its agency on how to improve the effectiveness of programs, whether to invest in program evaluation or otherwise point its resources in the direction of improving programs designed? anyone? >> the value of programmatic audits can never be underestimated in identifying ways for an organization to work more efficiently and effectively . other thing is the circle of
the ig office and the office of evaluation and the beauty of evaluation second and apart from it on is that you have more leeway. >> ,you are married.with the yellow okay? the yellow book pencils everything and you must stay within the parameters and parameters are somewhat rigid. during evaluation, you have, i can identify a set of criteria and you have much more flexibility with regard to the nature of the work you want to do and work often is looking particular program. is it working well?is working well with the resources it pass? is it leveraging those resources and is in accomplishing what it was intended to accomplish and if not, what do you need to do to make it better? and i.g.'s are doing more and more of that kind of work in
addition to the work of audits, inspections and evaluations. >> anyone else? >> i completely agree and authorize are often, i put my oversight on and i preferred that the i.g. officers spend their resources on investigations and audits that i can't do from where i'm sitting and that i need them to do so the answer is both . >> just like congress, right? >> it is that fall but in a sense you just described my report. it points out that the evolution of i.g.'s are and what they do has tocontinue . for 40 years, we are still not there yet and i think we
are getting there. >> but this has all been covered in the 78 because those three are part of that in addition to audits and investigation so we are back to the beginning, we're just going to move forward to look at how we can assist management and to do things better based on our audits and investigations sothat's a good direction to be moving in . >> let's invite our audience to ask the panel some suggestions. anyone? >> my name is kay, i'm retired from the departmentof labor . i was wondering, what is the relationship generally between the i.g. and the press and what changes or improvements to be made in that area? >> one thing is the press is something i.g.'s have to pay attention to. for example, all of the
reports that use to be issued by social security and sent to congress and around the circumstance, during the holiday season, you could almost that that's when those audits would be looked at by the media. and the new york times for example always had a story on something that probably have been gathering dust for a long time. >> you have someone responsible in your organization that keeps pace with the press and cooperates with the where they can. >> that means responding to questions. i think the i.g.'s have to be
careful on the other side you know, of kind of political use of the media. juicer whatever purpose they think is good. but definitely have to pay attention to the press . >> other questions? >> i'm wendy ginsberg with the department of public service and you talk about the new skill sets you are going to need for the forthcoming calendar of the inspector general. you the hiring authorities that exist for ids let you get that you need? >> anyone? >> i think right now, the ability to hire it professionals with the level
of expertise is somewhat beyond our reach. >> generally poor because of hiring authorities? >> generally and because of the hiring authorities and i should say cause the salary and the salary demands that they have. and i think that's something that eventually we will need to deal with because cyber security, information security, is so incredibly critical. so i think it does have some limitations on you in those cases. >> questions. [inaudible]
>> i have many questions and i'll one . i think i come at this from the perspective of the line manager, lower ranking in the federal so when you read a specific i.g. report, it's a about a specific program and it isn't enough to do such and such on the evaluation side not least, fraud and abuse. no claim in the report is not anybody violating the law but they didn't doenough, wasn't good enough . >> you mean, your ceos report, it's that perspective from the line manager y was concerned about with the task force is that there's a little input from then and it wouldn't be possible to get from an actual manager who was now in an agency saying
here's what it's like from our perspective but it would be possible to get from retired sos, who have been not at omb and not in support functions manage large programs to say what kind of school skills, what kind of feedback? would it be possible to get input or have you already have that? >> i think that's a very good question and as the bipartisan policy center looks for additional sources of remuneration for its work, that's a good amount of injury trying to . but i quit a little bit we would be to get access to current employees. there's no legal barrier to their participation. i like the panelists get. >>. >> source of inquiry. in the sense that you can identify.
>> let's get clearance from thehigh level. >> not necessarily. there are different ways is going to cast . >> with make clear what you're going to do with the staff. >> there were two sides to this story and myside didn't get told . a big risk for the line manager. >> i think that's generally, that amelia was talking about the evaluation of reports that if i.g.'s stick to the just the and the investigators reporting, then they will miss what you are talking about, but i think in inspections and in evaluation, there is an opportunity there to perhaps get that input into the document. >> i think as a general matter, the staff members
that you know, the audience) evaluation, we may have a manager and i do think their stories are told, presuming of course that what they write can be independently validated and verified, which is why you will see in most ig offices we have indexing and the referencing.and it is difficult to put anything in a report that cannot be independently validated and is not evidence-based. the individual rights it is the line person, that information goes to a third party who is completely unrelated to that underlying report and every single line is referenced to ensure the integrity of that information.
provided the information is factually accurate and evidence-based, your story is told as they saw and as they identify. so as a team identify. >>. >> you all very much, we are out of time what i really appreciate your contributions today and in the report. >> i handed over to. >> good morning everybody. >> and michael the opportunity to work on this project as well as the rest of the democracy project team. beautiful here today. his discussion on why inspector general matter excellent components to populist to a report area also like to say a huge thank you to the task force members for all of your contributions through this whole process. >> february today, inspector general take a significant contribution to oversight,
accountability and transparency, all essential to maintaining public trust and effective government. >> inspector general has become a critical part of the checks and balances to our system. our report oversight matters was next for inspector general provided recommendations to congress, agency heads, ids and energy into the present. these recommendations focus on coordination between congress and the inspector general independence and the it relationship, the evolution of the community and the growing it capacity. collaboration and relationships were recurring themes in our research and report. dual recording authorities for the i.g.'s report to congress and agency heads allows for i.g.'s you really relate pertinent oversight information to congress but all too soon to support their respective agency missions . in collaboration between congress and the i.g. is so important to this oversight work well.
our recommendation, what recommendation is they organize regular annual or biannual briefings or members and their staff. likewise, congressional committees should meet with i.g.'s to more regularly discuss open recommendations, investigation requests and simply discuss open important matters that are kindly and have a great address. our recommendation provided discussions on how to grow and enhance the collaboration. the relationship between i.g.'s and their respective agency heads is also the key to oversight function and in our report we outlined several options for navigating and improving this relationship and independence with the need to have all . >> this year we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the i.g. and hope this report and recommendation by congress , agency and executive branches
>> this forum on the role of inspectors general is available a little later on a website, cspan.org. only after news broke foreign secretary chris johnson resigned, british prime minister teresa lay delivered a statement for the house of commons on her plans . >> i want to pay tribute to my right honorable friend, -- doctor richard isolate for their work over the last few
years. [shouting] we do not agree about the best way to bring our shared commitment to honor the result so i want to recognize the work of the european union, for the work he did to establish a new department and bear true parliament to some of the most important legislation for generations and to recognize the passion that the foreign secretary demonstrated in promoting -- [laughter] >> is there an unseemly atmosphere, i want to hear about these important matters . and i think the rest should, the prime minister. >> the foreign foreign secretary demonstrated in presenting a global vision to the world and i'm pleased to
welcome my honorable friend as the new secretary of the european union. >> tonight on the communicators, stanford professor jeremy balance and discusses his book experience on demand about virtual reality technology. its potential for the future. >> when vr is done well, you can say this is not real but the back of your brain, departments in charge of keeping you alive is terrified and whenever we bring whether it's children on a school field trip for the ceo of fortune 10 company, that's the first thing we want to do. we want to establish the idea that it's real and you are unwilling to take a step on that plant as most of the people in the lab are, once i sold you on this idea that vr is so real you're not even willing to step one of the plan, we can have a
suggestion about i can change attitudes about racism, climate change, about these hard topics you have to experience to understand . >> what the communicators tonight at easter on c-span2. president donald trump will announce his nominee for the supreme court, filling the vacancy left by retiring justice anthony kennedy. what's the announcement life tonight at 9 pm eastern on c-span2 and c-span. >> on thursday, the fbi's peter, the former senior official for the counterintelligence division testify about fbi and doj actions surrounding the presidential election and the clinton email investigation. starts at 10 am eastern on c-span three, online c-span and with the free c-span radio area. >> next, law professors talk about the legacy of supreme