The Inspector General Shortage: GGN Senior Fellow Jason Foster in the Wall Street Journal

The Inspector General Shortage

Appointing more of them would instill much-needed public confidence in institutions.


By Jason Foster
The Wall Street Journal
May 6, 2019 6:41 p.m. ET

Just before the release of the Mueller report, Attorney General William Barr reminded Congress that another report is coming soon. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is wrapping up his related probe focusing on how the government handled the Trump-Russia investigation.

If history is any guide, Mr. Horowitz will lay out the facts objectively, accurately, and in meticulous detail. His office produced a 514-page report on Operation Fast and Furious and a 568-page report on the Clinton email controversy.  Both were widely accepted as authoritative due to the quality of the work and Mr. Horowitz’s credibility as neutral and fair.  It’s a remarkable record in a country increasingly divided along partisan lines.

Building trust in any authority to shoot straight in a world of spin can feel impossible.  People don’t trust the press, the politicians, or the bureaucrats to tell the truth because too many institutions have broken faith with too many Americans.  Impartial IGs are more vital than ever, and yet the number of important agencies with no watchdog on duty is nearing a crisis. These watchdogs are meant to ensure that facts don’t get buried, but the system doesn’t always work as designed. 

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