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senate Bill S. 579

The Inspector Generals Get Swole

Argument in favor

Inspector generals need authority to do their jobs correctly. This bill would give them that, and establish a relationship between them and Congress to keep them accountable.

Argument opposed

The inspector generals are doing their jobs just fine. This bill gives them a new set of burdens at the expense of the taxpayers.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
    IntroducedFebruary 26th, 2015

What is Senate Bill S. 579?

This bill seeks to increase oversight in government agencies. It would do so by increasing the authority of agencies’ inspector generals.

Some of the changes are sweeping. The bill would make it so agency heads could not place inspector generals on administrative leave. That is to say, the person running the office couldn’t kick out the person in charge with making sure they follow the rules—
Michael couldn’t kick out Toby.  The bill would also give inspector generals the ability to file subpeonas on contractors and former federal employees. “I don’t work there anymore” would no longer get anyone out of the consequences of screwing up.

But the bill doesn’t turn inspector generals into some Judge Dredd-style bureaucrat eliminators. The Attorney General would still be able to override IGs’ decisions. Actually, in many ways, this bill would increase oversight of inspector generals. The Comptroller General would have to put together a report on vacant inspector general positions. The bill also funds the Council of the Inspector Generals, and requires them to make reports to Congress every six months.Inspector generals would also have to report to the heads of their agencies when recommending changes.


Inspector generals, government agency employees, The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate, taxpayers.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 579

The CBO estimated that a previous version of this bill, H.R. 5492, would cost $44 million dollars over the years from 2015-2019. It would not affect revenue.

More Information

In-Depth: This bill amends the Inspector General Act of 1978, which created the position.

Of Note: Not sure what an Inspector General is? That’s okay! They’re the person whose job it is to find waste to fraud to abuse in a government agency and stop it. The
Department of Health and Human Services has one. So do the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice. Do you not have one? You’re probably not a federal agency! And that’s okay, too.

According to
The Washington Examiner, IGs saved the government $52 million dollars in 2013 alone. The Senators that introduced this bill say that inspector generals get hung up by bureaucratic red tape when trying to work, however, and need these new regulations to do so effectively.


Summary by James Helmsworth
(Photo Credit: Flickr user nnwo)


Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2015

Official Title

A bill to amend the Inspector General Act of 1978 to strengthen the independence of the Inspectors General, and for other purposes.

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