AT News Director Ed Lasky has chronicled the shameful problems with Obama administration inspector generals for years, including the political pressures put on IG's in almost every department of the administration.
A perfect illustration of this is former DHS IG Charles Edwards, who deliberately slowed investigations into wrongdoing at DHS, including the shredding of dozens of emails - an act that might send him to jail for obstruction of justice.
The Senate subcommittee began its investigation into Edwards last year when it started looking into complaints that his investigation into the U.S. Secret Service's hiring of prostitutes during a presidential advance trip in Cartagena, Colombia, was tainted.
The subcommittee uncovered numerous allegations against Edwards — some that pertained to his Secret Service probe and many others that were completely unrelated.
The panel found strong evidence that Edwards was altering and delaying investigations and reports to please political appointees at DHS who were in a position to influence President Obama to permanently elevate him to the top post. At the time, Edwards was serving as the acting inspector general.
According to the Senate report, Edwards put three of his staff on administrative leave after they balked when he directed them to delete parts of the office's investigation into Secret Service misconduct in Colombia -- evidence that would have cast the Secret Service in a more negative light, as well as implicate a White House staffer.
A senior DHS inspector general office aide also said that Edwards ordered alterations to a March 2012 report looking into complaints that senior DHS officials intentionally misled Congress and the public about an Immigration and Customs Enforcement program called Secure Communities aimed at identifying illegal immigrants.
Throughout the Senate investigation last year, Edwards was allowed to remain as acting DHS inspector general. It was only when the Senate Homeland Security committee was set to hold a hearing on the Edwards matter in December that DHS transferred him to another division with the agency.
Beyond politicized IG's, there is also the matter of Obama's failure to name and get confirmed permanent Inspector Generals. Nine major departments. including State, do not have permanent IG's. There is also the war on inspector generals that the administration continues to wage.
The case of Gerald Walpin, IG for Americorps, is instructive:
At the time, ABC News reported that a “source familiar with the president’s thinking” said that Mr. Obama wanted to replace Mr. Walpin with “someone who could effectively provide the kind of independent oversight that the president values.” The best way to assure “independent oversight” is to remind all inspectors general that they will be axed if they embarrass the White House. A joint House-Senate investigation concluded that firing Mr. Walpin“undermines the Inspectors General Act.”
In the same month Mr. Walpin was fired, the administrationunsuccessfully sought to obliterate the independence of the special inspector general for TARP, Neil Barofsky. Some IGs who have not been fired have instead come under withering pressure. Russell George, the IG who exposed the IRS’ targeting of conservative nonprofit groups, has been hammered by Mr. Obama’s congressional allies for almost a year. The special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, John Sopko, has been harshly criticized by bureaucrats and political appointees for his forthright reports on Afghan debacles.