Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Waxman Takes Aim at State Department Inspector General

Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is now taking on State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard over his alleged interference in investigations of possible contract fraud in projects in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In a letter (here) to Krongard, Representative Waxman asserts that the Committee has received information about actions to block or impede investigations from a number of people in the Inspector General's office, and "[t]he allegations made by these officials are not limited to a single unit or project within your office. Instead, they span all three major divisions of the Office of Inspector General — investigations, audits, and inspections. The allegations were made by employees of varied rank, ranging from line staff to upper management."  Alleging a political motive for the claimed interference, Representative Waxman states that "one consistent element in these allegations is that you believe your foremost mission is to support the Bush administration, especially with respect to Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than act as an independent and objective check on waste, fraud, and abuse on behalf of U.S. taxpayers."  The letter includes an "invitation" to a Committee hearing on October 16, which promises to have a few nasty moments. (ph)

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