Washington, D.C. - Last week, U.S. Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the National Security Subcommittee, and the chairs of multiple House Committees sent a letter condemning President Donald Trump’s assault on Inspectors General (IGs) and requesting direct input from the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency on legislative and other proposals to increase the independence of IGs and protect them from retaliation.

“Unlike any President in modern history, President Trump has engaged in offensive and unjustified attacks against Inspectors General, criticizing them for following the law, and retaliating against them for telling the truth,” the Chairs wrote. 

The letter highlights several actions by President Trump against IGs, including removing the newly-appointed Chair of Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, publicly attacking the Principal Deputy Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services for reporting on hospital supply shortages during the coronavirus crisis, and firing the Intelligence Community Inspector General because he is “not a Trump fan” and because he followed the law in alerting the congressional intelligence committees that the whistleblower complaint, which revealed the President’s abuse of power that ultimately led to his impeachment, was being withheld from Congress. 

“Each one of these actions by the President would raise significant concerns by itself,” the Chairs wrote.  “Together, they reflect a campaign of political retaliation and reward that is antithetical to good government, undermines the proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars, and degrades the federal government’s ability to function competently.”

The letter seeks input from the IG Council on legislative proposals, including a proposal to limit the removal of IGs to certain “good cause” conditions.  Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, made the proposed legislation public on April 10th, 2020.

“Congress is appropriating trillions of taxpayer dollars in response to the coronavirus crisis, and Americans across the political spectrum need these funds allocated effectively and efficiently,” the Chairs concluded.  “They do not want these funds squandered, mismanaged, or subjected to waste, fraud, or abuse.  In order to achieve these goals, we must protect the independence and integrity of our Inspectors General.”

The letter was led by Oversight Committee Chairwoman Maloney and joined by:

Oversight National Security Subcommittee Chairman Stephen F. Lynch

Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson

Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey

Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith

Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth

Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr

Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel

Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson

House Administration Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler

Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva

Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff

Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern

Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Kathy Castor

Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter A. DeFazio

Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal

Oversight Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerald E. Connolly

Click here to read the letter.

Click here to read the legislation.