TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 934

IRS Logo 2New York Times, Tighter Lid on Records Threatens to Weaken Government Watchdogs:

20 investigations across the government ... have been slowed, stymied or sometimes closed because of a long-simmering dispute between the Obama administration and its own watchdogs over the shrinking access of inspectors general to confidential records, according to records and interviews.

The impasse has hampered investigations into an array of programs and abuse reports — from allegations of sexual assaults in the Peace Corps to the F.B.I.'s terrorism powers, officials said. And it has threatened to roll back more than three decades of policy giving the watchdogs unfettered access to “all records” in their investigations.

“The bottom line is that we’re no longer independent,” Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, said in an interview.

The restrictions reflect a broader effort by the Obama administration to prevent unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information — at the expense, some watchdogs insist, of government oversight. ...

The inspector-general system was created in 1978 in the wake of Watergate as an independent check on government abuse, and it has grown to include watchdogs at 72 federal agencies. Their investigations have produced thousands of often searing public reports on everything from secret terrorism programs and disaster responses to boondoggles like a lavish government conference in Las Vegas in 2010 that featured a clown and a mind reader. ...

“This is by far the most aggressive assault on the inspector general concept since the beginning,” said Paul Light, a New York University professor who has studied the system. “It’s the complete evisceration of the concept. You might as well fold them down. They’ve become defanged.”

While President Obama has boasted of running “the most transparent administration in history,” some watchdogs say the clampdown has scaled back scrutiny of government programs. “This runs against transparency,” said the Peace Corps inspector general, Kathy Buller. ...

In a rare show of bipartisanship, the administration has drawn scorn from Democrats and Republicans. The Obama administration’s stance has “blocked what was once a free flow of information” to the watchdogs, Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said at a hearing. ...

Nowhere has the fallout over the dispute been felt more acutely than at the Justice Department, where the inspector general’s office said 14 investigations had been hindered by the restricted access.

Human Events, Stop Obama’s War On Watchdogs:

In the sadistic era of fraudulent Hope and Change, inspectors general inside the federal government have been kicked, neutered and starved of the authority and information they need to do their jobs.

It’s transparently clear: President Obama loathes and fears independent watchdogs.

In the sadistic era of fraudulent Hope and Change, inspectors general inside the federal government have been kicked, neutered and starved of the authority and information they need to do their jobs.

It’s transparently clear: President Obama loathes and fears independent watchdogs.

Accountability is an empty talking point without whistleblower protection and investigative autonomy. That is why Capitol Hill must do everything in its power to stop the White House war on the public’s ombudsmen. Federal inspector generals across dozens of agencies are begging lawmakers to grant them access to public records as guaranteed by the 1978 Inspector General Act.

The call for help comes as Obama administration obstructionists and cover-up operatives impede and downplay several key investigations into government corruption and malfeasance.

Last year, 47 of the nation’s 73 federal IGs signed an open letter decrying the Obama administration’s stonewalling of their investigations. The White House, they reported, had placed “serious limitations on access to records that have recently impeded the work” of IGs at the Peace Corps, the EPA and the Department of Justice, and jeopardized their “ability to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner.”

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/11/the-irs-scandal-day-934.html

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Comments

Everyone say it together now, "The most transparent administration in history!"

No one is surprised at this point because it is abundantly obvious, even to Democrats, that this is one of the most corrupt administrations in our history, certainly more than Nixon.

Posted by: wodun | Nov 29, 2015 10:59:52 AM