Statement of the Honorable Clay Johnson III
Deputy Director for Management
Office of Management and Budget
Subcommittee on Government Efficiency
and Financial Management
Committee on Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
Thank you for inviting me to testify on the occasion of
the 25th anniversary of the Inspector General Act. Twenty-five
years is certainly a good time to take stock of where we are and what
weve achieved for the investment the American people have made
in the governments Inspectors General.
When in 1978 Congress and the President enacted the Inspector
General Act, they were introducing a new and important level of oversight
to the Executive Branch. Congress wisely installed IGs within the Executive
Branch, while also requiring them to report the results of their activities
to Congress. Congress and the American people can expect accurate, objective
assessments of agency programs and thorough investigation into alleged
wrongdoing. The result of their work: billions in taxpayer dollars saved.
There are a number of areas where IGs, through the Presidents
Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE) and the Executive Council on
Integrity and Efficiency (ECIE), are working with this Administration
to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse and improve the management of the Executive
Branch. IGs, for instance, have key roles in implementing the Presidents
Management Agenda, Administration initiatives to improve the management
of the Executive Branch. IGs are helping us assess the extent to which:
Valuable human resources our employees are managed strategically;
Sourcing decisions allow services to be provided most effectively and
efficiently on behalf of the taxpayers;
We have timely and accurate financial information available to us;
Investments are wisely and prudently made in technologies that help
us accomplish our goals; and
Programs are working and, if not, what we can do about it.
Another important area where the IGs are making important
contributions is in reducing erroneous payments. The IGs are working with
the Chief Financial Officers Council to help measure the level of erroneous
payments, their causes, and the best methods to prevent them.
I also understand that the IGs are studying a proposal
put forth by this Subcommittee that would require the IGs to provide an
opinion on the adequacy of agency internal controls. The IGs are in a
perfect position, with expertise in each agencys operations, to
assess the benefit, relative to the cost, of opining on agency internal
controls. I trust that you will have confidence in the final advice that
the IGs give you.
One of the principles that allows you to have such confidence
in the work of the IGs is their ability to render opinions independent
of outside influence. We in the Executive Branch have as much at stake
in their objectivity as you do. I want to know that an IGs opinion
and advice are reliable and true. But that does not mean IGs can not work
constructively with agency management to identify potential problems and
possible solutions. More and more, IGs are working with agency management
to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.
The future of the IGs is bright. I predict that IGs will
continue to be a strong force for positive change within the government.
We should continually study ways to improve IG efficiency and effectiveness.
With regard to recommendations that certain IGs be Presidentially-appointed
and Senate-confirmed, I do not believe such a change would affect the
performance of IGs that are not Presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed.
However, were Congress to take up such proposals, we would seriously consider
The General Accounting Office has recommended that Congress
and the Administration consider the consolidation of smaller IG offices
into larger IG offices. Such consolidations should be considered only
when circumstances warrant it. I am unaware of IGs that feel consolidation
is necessary to improve their performance. In fact, as ECIE Vice Chair
Barry Snyder wrote in response to GAO recommendations to consolidate the
majority of DFE IGs with PAS IGs, [T]he DFE IGs disagree with GAO
that . . . [such consolidation] would serve to further enhance the overall
independence, efficiency, and effectiveness of the IG community.
As you know, the Administration last year proposed the
consolidation of the IG for Tax Administration with the Department of
the Treasury IG. One of the reasons for this consolidation was that with
the transition of so many of its components to the new Department of Homeland
Security, the Department of the Treasury no longer warranted two IGs.
Such a consolidation might allow the Departments IG to target resources
where they are needed most.
We should continue to find ways to improve the efficiency
and effectiveness of the IGs. The American people invest a great deal
in the IGs and we should get as much value from them as we can. I look
forward to working with the members of this Subcommittee and the IG community
to enhance the IGs ability to improve the management and performance
of the United States government.