Lawfare: Inspector General Reform in the NDAA
Presidential Reform Project co-chairs Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith published the following article in Lawfare in which they discuss reforms to protect inspectors general from political interference by the Executive Branch that were included in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. An excerpt of this piece can be found below:
Inspectors general are semi-independent executive branch watchdogs who conduct audits and investigations of executive branch actions and who have special reporting obligations to Congress. Once legally controversial, inspectors general today are an established institution that even former critic (and former attorney general) William Barr has acknowledged serve a “critical function in the government” that can bring “critical transparency and accountability” to the executive branch. As we once wrote, inspectors general “have effectively investigated controversial executive branch actions, clearly and fairly reported what happened, identified wrongdoing and exonerated those wrongly accused, made recommendations about how to improve the performance of the executive branch, and reported these matters to Congress and the public.” The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Justice, for example, has issued a number of very consequential reports in the past two decades. To get a sense of the range of inspector general reports, look at the Justice Department OIG’s web page.