Russell Bill Holds Rogue Government Officials Accountable
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Steve Russell (OK-05) continued his ongoing work against government abuse, fraud and waste through his bill, H.R. 4917, the IG Subpoena Authority Act, which passed the House unanimously Wednesday.
Russell’s legislation aims to crack down on mismanagement within the Executive Branch by allowing inspectors general to issue testimonial subpoenas for contractors, grant recipients and former federal employees to carry out their authorized oversight duties.
“In big bureaucracies like the federal government, it’s not difficult to conceal wrongdoings,” Russell said. “It is even easier to conceal those wrongdoings when employees refuse to comply and leave their federal employment behind. This is completely unacceptable and it is our duty as Members of Congress to provide this oversight for our federal government.”
Compelling former employees to testify during investigations has been an ongoing problem in the Executive Branch. Multiple inspectors general have testified to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about the need to remedy this issue, since they are currently unable to obtain critical information through these former employees for investigations.
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz explained his office was unable to obtain information from former DOJ employees in whistleblower retaliation and sexual assault allegations as a result of this loophole.
Russell’s legislation would allow inspectors general to compel testimony in cases where witnesses refuse to cooperate, ensuring executive branch employees are playing by the rules.
“No one should be above the law in America,” Russell said. “Loopholes like this one give former federal employees free reign to skirt our laws of justice – and they need to be closed.”