IRS investigation spotlights need for Inspectors General

State Department leads list of agencies without key oversight

An executive branch Inspector General played a critical role in exposing the IRS’s practice of targeting Tea Party groups, says Kathleen Clark, JD, anti-corruption expert and professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis.


“Inspectors General can work internally to investigate alleged wrongdoing, gain access to sensitive documents and information, and report their findings both internally and to Congress and to the public,” Clark writes in a recent post on the Legal Ethics Forum blog.

“As we see with the IRS controversy, an Inspector General investigation can cause heads to roll. Perhaps that’s why some government agencies have been without an Inspector General for a very long time – measured not in months, but in years.” Clark notes that the State Department has been without an Inspector General for more than five years.