January 22nd, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today applauded Congressman Ed Towns for ordering an investigation into the White House Office of Management and Budget for allegedly threatening an Inspector General from Congress’ Office of Personnel Management, Patrick MacFarland.
“Congressman Towns should be praised for investigating his own party’s Administration, who in this case threatened an inspector general,” said Wilson.
Towns is the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who in a statement said, “If such statements were made they were entirely improper and pose a direct threat to the independence and integrity of the Inspectors General, and an affront to clear Congressional intent as expressed in statute.”
MacFarland says he was threatened because he wanted to warn Congress that his budget was too low as proposed for his office to complete its mission, which by law he is required to do.
Wilson agreed, saying, “Especially with the inspectors general whose purpose it is to monitor wasteful spending, OMB’s threats to any inspector ought to be investigated.”
Wilson continued, “Under law, any inspectors general who believe that they are being cut either maliciously or in error has a duty to inform Congress, and neither OMB nor any other arm of the Obama Administration should be targeting those inspectors as a result.”
“Nobody should be threatened by the White House for doing their jobs as stipulated by law,” Wilson added.
According to the NY Daily News, MacFarland “alleged that his office got a ‘not so veiled threat from OMB’ that it ‘will make life miserable’ if he informs legislators of his complaint.”
In his letter, McFarland wrote, “I am alerting to you about a very serious matter that represents an attempt to thwart an authority provided to us by the Inspector General Reform Act of 2008 and that creates a risk of compromising our operational independence.”
Wilson called on the Obama White House to cooperate with Towns’ investigation, and to reprimand the budget official responsible for making the threats.
“At this juncture, it would be very appropriate for the Obama Administration to follow protocol and if necessary fire the official who abused his position to keep an inspector general quiet about a policy issue,” Wilson said, concluding, “and to immediately inform Congress of whatever action it is taking to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”