Some federal government heroes were honored yesterday, and Barack Obama was nowhere to be seen. For good reason. From Ed O'Keefe of the Washington Post:
Politicians talk plenty about rooting out waste, fraud and abuse, but the folks who actually find the corruption enjoyed a few brief moments in the limelight Tuesday.
The nation's federal watchdogs honored 85 of their own at an awards ceremony consistent with the work ethic of many inspectors general: It started on time and lasted an hour, as promised. It featured no refreshments or souvenirs and no long-winded acceptance speeches.
It was a very low key affair -- if one can even call it an "affair." The Inspectors General did not want to appear to be gloating (though one could excuse them if they did).
But why not celebrate? Inspectors general recovered more than $8.9 billion in federal funds in fiscal 2009 and identified $44 billion in potential savings, more than double than in the previous year, according to the council. Watchdog investigations resulted in 5,900 successful criminal prosecutions and 4,485 suspensions or debarments of delinquent individuals or contractors, the group said. Dozens of federal inspector general offices fielded 417,349 calls to telephone tip lines and published more than 7,000 audits, evaluations and other reports.
How did they celebrate after the brief award ceremony? They "got back to work."
Now I have been rather focused on bloated salaried and pension packages for government workers. However, many do fine jobs and may be underpaid. Among those would be the Inspectors General who are concerned about how our taxpayer dollars are spent. Their salaries bring about a great return on our investment. They are our watchdogs and their barks and bites can be very effective.
That is the reason Barack Obama wants to keep them in cages.
President Obama has been busy firing them when they uncover taxpayer abuse perpetrated by Barack Obama's friends and Democratic allies (as was Gerald Walpin when he reported on the antics of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a Democrat ally of Obama ) and trying to prevent them being hired to watch a $30 billion dollar new government program that was under the control of the Obama administration. One of the best Inspectors General has been Neil Barofsky, the TARP Watchdog who recently announced that the Obama administration mishandled the closing of auto dealerships and that decisions may have been made based on whether minorities owned dealerships.
Barack Obama is notoriously thin-skinned. He does not like to be judged. He does not want or like Inspector Generals who might give a less than passing grade to various programs he is responsible for running.
Good Inspectors General are worth their weight in gold-they are watching out for us and our hard-earned dollars.
They are unsung heroes.