For Immediate Release:
April 7, 2020
Government Accountability Project Condemns Removal of IG Leader Overseeing Pandemic Spending
Whistleblower Advocates Criticize Trump’s Interference with IGs’ Independence
WASHINGTON – Today, President Donald Trump relieved Glenn Fine, leader of the panel of Inspectors General (IGs) responsible for overseeing allocation and implementation of the $2 trillion pandemic stimulus law, from his duties as Acting Department of Defense (DOD) IG. Last week, a group of leaders from the Council of IGs for Integrity and Efficiency selected Fine to chair the new Pandemic Response Accountability Committee charged with overseeing misconduct related to the coronavirus spending bill. Trump named another official, Sean O’Donnell, to serve concurrently as the Acting DOD IG, in addition to his current duties as the Acting Environmental Protection Agency IG.
Louis Clark, Executive Director and CEO of Government Accountability Project criticized executive interference into the independent IG system, stating:
“The President’s decision to oust Inspector General Fine represents a flagrant disregard of the Inspectors’ General independence. The move further entrenches attempts to curb independent oversight of our government which is vital to preventing serious abuses. Fine’s removal is especially threatening during the COVID-19 pandemic when people’s lives and livelihoods are on the line.”
Tom Devine, Legal Director of Government Accountability Project added,
“Under the pandemic’s cover, the President has launched a devastating one-two attack to knock out accountability. Last week, he fired the Intelligence Community Inspector General for doing his job to act on a whistleblower’s evidence. This week, he fired the key Inspector General for the stimulus before he had a chance to do his job. Congress needs to respond to this with a one-two counterattack: 1) protect Inspectors General from being fired at will; and 2) better protect whistleblowers by expanding the scope and adding badly needed teeth to America’s weak rights. Otherwise, the CARE Act may become the Corruption Act.”
Contact: Andrew Harman, Communications Director
Phone: (202) 457-0034 ext. 156
Government Accountability Project
Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.