May 18, 2020

Ranking Member Menendez Announces New Legislation to Protect State Department and Other Inspectors General

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today announced he will introduce new legislation to protect Inspectors General for the State Department and other Foreign Affairs agencies from removal and bolster Congress’s ability to review attempts to remove Inspectors General. The Senator’s bill would also require that Acting Inspectors General be career officials, not political appointees, and would mandate recusal by agency heads and other senior officials regarding investigations into their own conduct. The Senator’s legislation comes on the heels of President Trump’s late-night Friday firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, who Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recommended be removed.

“Inspectors General are key to a functioning democracy. Their independence is paramount to conducting effective oversight and good stewardship of taxpayer dollars. I am increasingly concerned that it appears Inspector General Linick was targeted and removed by President Trump and Secretary Pompeo simply for doing his job. 

“This latest action by the President calls for an immediate response from Congress. That is why I will be introducing new legislation to create additional protections against removing an Inspector General, and to prevent a President from carrying out an unjustified—or worse, politically motivated—removal. 

“With colleagues on both sides of the aisle expressing serious concerns with the President’s purging of independent Inspectors General, I hope that many will join me in pushing this effort forward.”

Senator Menendez’s legislation will:

  • Provide a mechanism for Congress to review the President’s attempts to remove Inspectors General.

  • Limit removal of Inspectors General only for cause (such as malfeasance, misuse of funds, abuse of authority, or violation of law).

  • Require that Acting Inspectors General be career officials.

  • Require the Secretary of State and other agency heads to recuse from any actions related to an investigation involving that official. 

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Press Contact

Juan Pachon 202-224-4651