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Better Websites for Inspector Generals

October 4, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Yesterday, I was feeling a bit <a href=“http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/317-Freeing-the-Watchmen>cynical about the floor amendments that were added to the ”http://www.opencongress.org/bill/110-h928/show">Improving Government Accountability Act. But I didn’t notice this transparency amendment from Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), which was also added to the bill by unanimous consent. It would require Inspector Generals to make their reports of waste, fraud, and abuse publicly accessible online.

According to Gillibrand’s press release, the amendment requires:

1) The Inspector General of each agency shall post — one day after made publicly available — all report or audit on the website of the Office of the Inspector General.

2) Ensure that any posted report or audit be easily accessible from the website of the Office of the Inspector General, includes a summary of the findings of the Inspector General, and is in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format.

3) The Inspector General of each agency shall establish a link of their website for individuals to report waste, fraud and abuse anonymously.

4) The Inspector General of each agency shall provide a service on their website that allows individuals to elect to receive information relating to any new posted report or audit.

5) Each agency should link to the website of the Office of Inspector General of that agency.

Inspector Generals are key players in holding the government accountable for the ways they spend our money. It’s only fair that we, the taxpayers, should be guaranteed an easy way to view their reports and audits.

The requirement for a link that allows anyone to anonymously tip-off IGs on waste, fraud and abuse is really exciting. I can imagine that government workers who see waste every day, but are too afraid of losing their jobs to report to the IGs, could use this tool to great effect.

I hope that information is made fully available to the public along with the reports. Otherwise, who is going to watch the Inspector Generals to make sure that they follow up on it?

By the way, the Sunlight Foundation helped Gillibrand pick this amendment. Go team!

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