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    Center for Public Integrity: Congress, Administration Leave Many Top Oversight Jobs Unfilled

    The Center for Public Integrity reports on oversight posts that remain vacant in the Obama administration. In his first week as US president, Barack Obama published two memos and one executive order to increase openness and transparency in the federal government. Obama’s memo on open government set out principles for transparency. Obama’s memo on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) directed the Attorney General to write new guidelines to agencies on FOIA to improve government transparency, stating, “All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open Government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA.” Obama’s Executive Order on Presidential Records reverses his predecessor’s restrictions on access to former presidents’ documents.

    Now, the Center for Public Integrity reports. the administration has “left more than a dozen of the government’s top oversight jobs unfilled.”

    At least 15 of the 73 inspectors general, chief auditors, or whistleblower protection jobs across government currently are vacant or are being covered by acting officials, according to a Center for Public Integrity review. Many of the openings have languished for a year or more.

    The State Department, for instance, has been without its chief watchdog since early 2008 when President George Bush’s inspector general appointee resigned after a controversy involving investigations into spending in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    And the Central Intelligence Agency, often in the limelight with its sweeping spy powers, hasn’t had a presidentially appointed inspector general since the most recent appointee retired in March 2009. [...]

    Administration officials say the president is working to make strong picks for each inspector general vacancy, and that candidates for three openings — they declined to identify them — are in the pipeline. [...]

    The president got four inspectors generals confirmed in his first 15 months in office at NASA, the Education Department, the Small Business Administration, and the Pentagon.

    The nominees for three positions (inspector generals for the Environmental Protection Agency, Corporation for National and Community Service and the Federal Housing Finance Agency) have had their nominations languish in Congress.

    Lawmakers also have two of their own watchdog openings to fill. Former Comptroller General David Walker stepped down in March 2008, and the office has been under the command of Acting Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro for more than two years. [...]

    In addition, the House of Representatives is searching for a new inspector general after the longtime watchdog for Congress announced his retirement in December.

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