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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

REPS LIEU AND HICE INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO INCREASE TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY WITHIN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

 WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA), along with Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), introduced bipartisan legislation to increase transparency and accountability within the federal government. The Oversight.gov Authorization Act would formally authorize the establishment and maintenance of a website to help the public more easily access reports that have been generated by the independent work of Inspectors General (IGs).

“Our bill will allow for crucial improvements to be made to Oversight.gov, a central online location for all federal Inspectors General to publish their reports,” Representative Lieu said. “IGs are critical to rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in our government, and this website will make their findings more accessible to the American people. I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan bill to increase transparency in the IG community.”

“The inspector general community is on the frontlines in combatting waste, fraud, and abuse across federal agencies on behalf of the American taxpayer,” said Representative Hice. “The Oversight.gov Authorization Act is an important step in promoting and protecting the work of inspectors general, enabling the public to view firsthand the need for greater accountability and transparency in our government. This bicameral, bipartisan legislation is a commonsense measure that all of Congress can get behind, and I look forward to working with my colleague Rep. Ted Lieu, as well as Senators Chuck Grassley and Maggie Hassan, in seeing this bill across the finish line.”

“Inspectors General play a critical role in ensuring that hard-earned taxpayer dollars are being put to good use, and it is important that their findings are easily accessible to the public,” Senator Hassan said. “I am pleased to join Senator Grassley and our colleagues in the House of Representatives in introducing this bipartisan legislation to support the independence and integrity of the IG community by codifying and authorizing funding for a website where the public can access IG reports and get more information on how federal dollars are being spent.”

“A government of the people must be accountable to the people. Oversight.gov helps to bring together the great work of our Inspectors General from across the bureaucracy on one comprehensive website for the American people. This one-stop-shop for transparency is essential to improving accountability in the information age,” Senator Grassley said.

In 2017, the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), an independent government entity that oversees the Offices of Inspectors General, launched Oversight.gov, a website used to house public reports and data issued by IGs to improve government transparency. The bipartisan Oversight.gov Authorization Act would formally authorize the establishment and maintenance of this website to help improve the public’s access to IG reports and other related material, as well as help whistleblowers report waste, fraud, abuse.

Additionally, the bill would improve accountability over funds related to COVID-19 federal spending and the work of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee by bolstering the webpage dedicated to housing this information as mandated under the CARES Act.

The bill is endorsed by the Campaign for Accountability, R Street Institute, Common Cause, Government Accountability Project, and Project On Government Oversight. CIGIE was consulted during the bill’s formation.

Previously, Representatives Lieu and Hice have worked together to safeguard Inspectors General through their bill, the Inspector General Protection Act, which passed the House in July of 2019, to enhance the independence and integrity of IGs. Rep. Lieu has also been a vocal advocate for strengthening whistleblower protections to ensure individuals can report any unlawful or inappropriate activity by government officials without fear of retribution.

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