WASHINGTON—Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a markup on the Integrity Committee Transparency Act of 2021 (H.R. 2681), which was introduced by Government Operations Subcommittee Ranking Member Jody Hice (R-Ga.) and Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). In his opening statement, Subcommittee Ranking Member Hice discussed the pivotal role of inspector generals while emphasizing the need for increased transparency and oversight when inspector generals are accused of wrongdoing.
Below are the remarks as prepared for delivery.
Rooting out waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct is one of the most important jobs of this committee, and the Inspectors General serve as the front lines to investigate these type allegations.
The Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency is an independent entity established in 2008 to help Inspectors General and individual agencies train and create policies to develop a strong workforce.
The Integrity Committee is a committee within this council that investigates allegations of wrongdoing made against Inspectors General.
They ensure robust oversight over Inspectors General, holding them to the highest standards of behavior.
However, the Integrity Committee’s activities have long been a very obscure process, particularly for our Oversight Committee and our leadership who are entrusted with oversight over the federal agency Inspectors General and are concerned with any potential wrongdoing.
The Integrity Committee has a history of limiting the transparency of their investigations into various allegations of wrongdoing, resulting in confusion and concerns about the legitimacy of some investigations.
This legislation dramatically improves the transparency of the Integrity Committee’s processes and the Oversight Committee’s oversight of its operations.
For example, the bill requires the Integrity Committee to provide additional information to the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency when requesting an extension of time to evaluate an allegation of wrongdoing.
It also requires information be provided to Congressional Committee leadership when it closes an allegation from a member of Congress without referral to the council for investigation.
Under the bill, allegations of wrongdoing against inspectors general must be referred to the Integrity Committee to prevent them from stonewalling investigations.
This bill brings necessary resources to the Integrity Committee with the addition of an experienced Inspector General to assist with their work.
Finally, the bill changes the council’s annual report to Congressional committees to every six months with additional reporting requirements regarding the Integrity Committee’s activities so that we can stay informed in Congress and better do our job in oversight.
Thank you, Chairwoman. I urge support of this, and I yield back.