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McCaskill Moves to Create Independent Watchdog for U.S. Senate

Senator renews effort to establish an Inspector General to investigate, audit, and review Senate operations

March 19, 2012

WASHINGTON - Across the federal government, Inspectors General serve as independent watchdogs over the actions of government agencies, departments, and the military-but the U.S. Senate operates free of such scrutiny, and Senator Claire McCaskill wants to change that. 

As part of her broader effort to "clean up Congress", McCaskill is honoring Sunshine Week by renewing her efforts to create an Inspector General for the U.S. Senate, to investigate, audit, and review Senate operations.

"Inspectors General are the watchdogs for taxpayers, finding waste and fraud and abuse in the way that taxpayers' money is spent," said McCaskill, a former prosecutor and Missouri State Auditor. "We need an Inspector General for the United States Senate, to look at the operations of the legislative branch, to make sure that we're using money wisely, that we're not wasting it-that we have the same kind of accountability on us that we have supported in the rest of government."

The purpose of the Senate Inspector General would be to help identify waste and inefficiencies in the upper chamber of the legislative branch, and report the findings to the full Senate. McCaskill said the watchdog position would add a common sense layer of non-partisan accountability in the Senate.

McCaskill's efforts this week round out years of work to reform government, including:

  • Expanding protections for whistleblowers
  • Establishing a moratorium on earmarks and introducing bipartisan legislation to permanently ban them from the legislative process
  • Fighting to open up to the public the consideration and markup of the National Defense Authorization bill
  • Spearheading the effort to establish an independent watchdog in the form of a Senate Inspector General, to root out waste of taxpayer dollars in the chamber's budget

McCaskill also recently introduced landmark legislation along with Senator Jim Webb (Va.) to overhaul the federal government's planning, management, and oversight of contracting during overseas contingency operations and eliminate the systemic problems that have led to the waste of billions of taxpayer dollars.



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