Senate bill aims to ensure fair investigations of DOJ

Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced a bill Thursday that would ensure an independent inspector general investigates allegations of misconduct within the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“Inspectors General are true watchdogs who save taxpayer dollars and help deliver better services to Americans,” Tester said. “This bill is a common-sense measure that makes sure taxpayers are getting the level of service they expect and increases oversight of an agency.”

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S. 2127, the Inspector General Empowerment Act would give the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) jurisdiction throughout the DOJ.

Lee and Tester said the law was necessary because current law requires allegations of misconduct at DOJ to be investigated by an agency that reports to the Attorney General rather than the autonomous OIG, as other federal agencies do.

“The rules that apply to inspectors general in other federal agencies should apply at the Department of Justice,” Lee said. “Current law invites undue influence from the Attorney General’s office into the process and should be changed to ensure the integrity of investigations of misconduct within the Justice Department.”

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are co-sponsoring the bill.