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Harry Reid Remains Silent on Decision to Block IG Empowerment Act

Image: Harry Reid Remains Silent on Decision to Block IG Empowerment Act
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By    |   Friday, 18 Mar 2016 11:11 AM

Three months ago, Senate Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid blocked Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley's IG Empowerment Act — a bipartisan bill that would give presidentially appointed inspectors general authority to access all agency records for investigations and audits — and the Nevada senator is staying quiet as to why he rejected the bill and refuses to change his position.

"I cannot imagine anything controversial about wanting inspectors general to have access to the people and documents they need to do their jobs for the American people," Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, co-sponsor of the bill, told The Daily Caller.

"Americans deserve a transparent and accountable government, and, this being Sunshine Week, it is particularly concerning that Minority Leader Reid refuses to disclose why these bipartisan, commonsense reforms are being blocked," Johnson continued.

Co-sponsors of the measure include Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Claire McCaskill and was introduced by Grassley who, according to The Daily Caller, introduced the bill to "serve as a final clarification that Congress sides with watchdog access and accountable government over agencies."

"Congress established inspectors general to be watchdogs on federal agencies, to ensure the government is serving the American people in a fair, upstanding and efficient manner," Grassley told The Daily Caller.

"Congress gave these watchdogs authority to review all agency records to effectively do their job. Leave it, though, to the bureaucracy to twist the meaning of the simple three-letter word: all. Denying access to all records — access that Congress created — prevents IGs from fully protecting the American people from fraud, waste and misconduct in government."

Though Reid refused to state his objections to the measure, Reid shot down Grassley's effort on the Senate floor in December as well as noted others — though it is unclear who — object the bill.

"Other senators are concerned about it, and I lead the objection on my behalf," Reid said.

However, Elizabeth Hempowicz, the public policy director for the Project on Government Oversight, stressed the importance of this measure to The Daily Caller.

"This bill is still extremely important, I would say even more important now than it was when it was first introduced," Hempowicz said.

"Every day that goes by without action from Congress to undo the OLC opinion from last July stating that DOJ IG does not have unfettered access to all of the agency's documents bolsters that opinion and undermines IGs across the government.

"Until Congress passes the bill, that memo can be and has been used to block oversight."

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Three months ago, Senate Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid blocked Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley's IG Empowerment Act...
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2016-11-18
Friday, 18 Mar 2016 11:11 AM
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