Political Hint Of The Day

Political Hint Of The Day:

Getting one’s political knickers in a knot over an Inspector General’s interest in the behavior of a politician or of a serving or former Cabinet-level member of an administration betrays either a fundamental ignorance of how IGs are appointed or a failure to recognize a rival’s deliberate attempt to mislead.

The President nominates IGs at Cabinet-level departments and major agencies with Senate confirmation. These IGs can only be removed by the President. And since they serve at the pleasure of the President, they do as the President pleases, which makes the idea that they are not political operatives nothing more than a convenient fiction.

I worked in the USAID Office of the Inspector General for several years under two African-Americans – Jeffrey Rush (August 1994 to August 1999) and his assistant/successor Everett L. Mosley (August 1999 to September 2004) – who arrived with a mandate from President Clinton to improve the diversity of the senior staff.

Within six months of their arrival they embarked on a campaign to unlawfully remove and replace every staff member who held the rank of Foreign Service Officer 1 and re-classify their positions so they could fill the vacancies with lower-ranked members of the Civil Service. Any staff removed in that way would then have to compete anew for the position they lost.

The first to be targeted were the staff of the Office of Investigations, most of whom had two things in common – Each held the rank of FSO 1 and each was over age forty.

The effort was thwarted by a class-action suit brought by twenty-two Anglo investigators and one African-American investigator on the grounds of age discrimination and the make-up of the Office of Investigations changed as it normally would – By ordinary attrition over time.