17 Jun 2020
There is no corruption here. That’s what the United States Federal Government informs us.
We have over sixty offices of inspector general. It is their separate missions to combat waste, fraud, and abuse within the various agencies of the executive branch which they chose not to call corruption.
In another twist of irony, these inspectors general are defined by statute as independent, yet they are appointed by the executive entity who makes such all appointments – the same executive who fires them.
Can I weave three elements together in 7 minutes?
- Inspectors general, and
- The two-trillion-dollar CARES Act, passed during the spring of 2020.
Fraud, waste, and abuse – focal issues for inspectors general. Some of these organizations investigate mismanagement. criminal and noncriminal misconduct.
Wait, what is the difference between fraud, waste, and abuse and corruption?
Aubergine, amethyst, mulberry, mauve, grape, deep ruby, violet… all are purples, aren’t they. Fraud is a corrupt act, isn’t it? If I misrepresent my services or goods or pricing to the government, I committed a corrupt act. Where there is fraud, there is corruption.
Corruption involves the manipulation of public trust to benefit private interests.
Is abuse of public funds corruption? Money for x went to y. X suffered, Y benefitted. And the effort went contrary to public indent. It fits. Public trust manipulated, and certainly someone quietly benefited.
Waste, mismanagement, and noncriminal misconduct seem like very polite words for corruption – hues and variations on the theme of purple. Why don’t we acknowledge that the reason we implement procurement rules, financial management rules, transparency laws in governance are all efforts to reduce the opportunity for corruption.
Or do we think that corruption belongs over there – some far-off land. We may abuse public trust. We may mismanage public funds. We may have fat-cats manipulating process to benefit their private interests. But corruption, we haven’t had corruption in the United States since the Teapot Dome Scandal in the 1920, a hundred years ago.
No, we have sixty organizations with mission statements focused on corruption. Sure, they washed the words through a thesaurus. In order to establish an agency to investigate corruption, one must entirely and honestly admit that corruption exists.
How does this relate to the 2 trillion-dollar CASE act? We, our government, established the PRAC (P-R-A-C), the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. The Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act tags the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency to staff the PRAC. What is the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency?
The C-I-G-I-E is an umbrella organization of inspectors general our government formed in 2008. They call themselves an “Independent Entity within the United States Executive Branch”. I’ll quote here from the CIGIE’s mission statement:
- Continually identify, review, and discuss areas of weakness and vulnerability in Federal programs and operations with respect to fraud, waste, and abuse (corruption).
- Develop plans for coordinated, Government wide activities that address these problems and promote economy and efficiency in Federal programs and operations, including interagency and inter-entity audit, investigation, inspection, and evaluation programs and projects to deal efficiently and effectively with those problems concerning fraud and waste (corruption).that exceed the capability or jurisdiction of an individual agency or entity.
To Recap: The United States Government has sixty-plus organizations called inspectors general who investigate corruption within their domains, and we have an umbrella organization to coordinate the efforts to prevent and investigate corruption.
Each I.G. calls itself an independent entity. They are independent from the organization they monitor. The CIGIE also stamps itself as independent.
Yet, they are not independent.
Friday, 7 April 2020
The Executive fired the IG for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson.
Friday, 7 April 2020
The Executive fired the Department of Defense IG, Glenn Fine
Friday, 1 May 2020
The Executive fired the Health and Human Services IG, Christi Grimm
Friday, 15 May 2020
The Executive fired the State Department IG, Steve Linick
Friday, 15 May 2020
The Executive fired the Department of Transportation IG, Mitchell Behm
Five inspectors general fired on Friday evenings after normal business hours.
Five inspectors general fired within five weeks.
Twice firing two IGs at a time on Friday nights.
What is the Message?
Inspectors General are not independent entities.
Second, I infer my government wants to manipulate CARES Act oversight committee. The Executive fired under 10% of the potential members of the PRAC.
We are borrowing $2 trillion from someone somewhere somehow. We’re using these public funds to keep hospitals and public infrastructure alive. We’re borrowing from the future to help everyone in our economy survive the greatest economic crisis in a century (or longer).
And we’ve pulled the teeth from the team who ought to protect our interests from corruption.
Fraud is corruption. Corruption hurts us all. And the people it hurts the most are the people we always hurt the most. That is also a shame.