Republican Defies Trump To Introduce Inspector General Protection Law


On most issues when it comes to President Trump, Republican lawmakers are on the wrong side. Impeach Trump for extorting a foreign country? Nope. Speak out against his orders to have peaceful protesters shot with tear gas and rubber bullets? No comment. Raise concerns when Trump retweets video of a man saying “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat”? Not doing that, either.

So it comes as quite a surprise when a GOP lawmaker openly criticizes Trump, must less acts to create policy to check his powers.

In March, Trump fired Stephen A. Linick, an inspector general who “played a minor role in the president’s impeachment proceedings and was said to have begun investigating alleged misconduct by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.” The GOP didn’t have much to say at the time, but Grassley now wants tighter enforcement of a law against a president firing an inspector general without approval from Congress, first passed in 2008.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Grassley wrote:

‘The 2008 law…required the president to provide Congress with advance notice and reasons before removing a Senate-confirmed inspector general. This measure was intended to prevent political tampering with oversight.’

After mentioning, of course, that President Obama had once violated this law with the firing of an inspector general of AmeriCorps, who no one believes was investigating anyone in the Obama administration, Grassley said these types of firings have been repeated twice under President Trump.

‘Fast-forward to 2020. President Trump fired two inspectors general, citing loss of confidence. Again, I pushed for more information. And again, I blocked nominees to force compliance with the law — a move that shouldn’t have surprised anybody familiar with my largely lonesome, four-decade crusade to promote government oversight.’

Grassley noted that although “the Constitution clearly gives the president sole authority to manage executive branch staff,” an inspector general who is serving the post well should have some protections and that political motives should never play a part in their firing. Of course, Grassley was quick to appease Trump at least in some way, he also mentioned that no one was interested in oversight under Obama but “that all changed when President Trump got involved,”

‘It’s really this simple: If inspectors general are doing good work, they should stay; if not, they should go. If the president is going to remove an inspector general, there’d better be a good reason. And there’s absolutely no good reason to leave an IG seat vacant for an extended period. These guidelines apply to all administrations, Republican or Democrat.’

Featured image screenshot via YouTube