The public should be outraged by these events, and I share in that anger. These episodes are indefensible and intolerable, and this type of behavior by government officials is an unacceptable breach of public trust.

Unfortunately, these episodes are too often used for political gain, holding these isolated incidents up as an example of what is wrong with all of government rather than working to ensure that safeguards are implemented to avoid gross abuses of taxpayer funds in the future.

Rather than focus on tarnishing the reputation of those government workers who are trying to keep our families safe, from those who protect our food supply to local police, firefighters, and teachers, we should work together to ferret out existing problems and build a more efficient government.

Proper oversight requires not just uncovering, and demanding accountability for, past abuses, but ensuring that we also look forward and ask, “How can we prevent this in the future?” As I have since I was first elected, I will continue to put all federal spending under the microscope, and ensure that the right systems are in place so that taxpayer dollars are not wasted. 

Rep. Tierney (D-Mass.) is the former Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations.