President Joe Biden nominated senior officials to fill two of the longest standing inspector general vacancies at the U.S. Department of State and United States Agency for International Development — agencies that have been heavily involved in oversight work related to the war in Ukraine.
Paul Martin has been tapped for USAID and is the current top watchdog at NASA. Cardell Richardson, Sr., is the pick to lead State’s inspector general. If confirmed, they would replace Nicole Angarella and Diana Shaw, who are currently serving in acting capacities at their respective agency offices.
The nominations come urgently but also somewhat late considering vacancies have been left open while oversight work on U.S. aid to Ukraine has become a major priority for this administration. The Biden administration has been criticized by lawmakers and former watchdogs for dragging its feet on nominations for these positions, which are critical to investigating claims of waste, fraud and abuse.
For these roles in particular, Congress has prioritized information on the billions of dollars of U.S. assistance to Ukraine and has given additional funding to these offices to do so, with the help of the Pentagon’s inspector general. House Republicans wanted to give these offices a boost in the 2024 funding bill while other agencies are being kept at or below 2023 levels.
These watchdog offices also traveled to Kyiv in January to further those efforts. And that same month, the offices published the Joint Strategic Oversight Plan–Ukraine Response, comprised of 64 ongoing and planned oversight products and 14 completed projects related to Ukraine response.
Now, the offices are one step closer to having fully installed investigators to carry out this work.
Both nominees have deep experience in inspector general work.
“In the past, some of the best inspectors general had previous experience running other inspector-general offices in smaller agencies, or serving as deputy or assistant inspectors general,” wrote Glenn Fine, the former inspector general of the Department of Justice and acting official of the Pentagon, in a recent article for The Atlantic.
Martin would come to USAID from NASA, where he has previously served as vice chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee created by the CARES Act. Before he assumed that post in 2009, he served as the deputy inspector general at the Department of Justice.
Richardson is currently works as inspector general of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. He has 26 years of military experience as a retired U.S. Air Force colonel.
Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.