Nominations for longstanding inspector general vacancies arrive at Senate

President Donald Trump sent nominations to the Senate on April 6 to fill several longstanding inspector general vacancies, some of which have existed for years.

The president nominated Peter Michael Thomson, a white-collar crime defense lawyer at Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann in Louisiana, to be inspector general of the CIA. The position that has been vacant for 1,893 days — or more than five years — according to the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, or CIGIE.

Trump nominated Jason Abend, a senior policy adviser for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, to fill the Defense Department’s IG role. That position has been vacant more than four years, according to CIGIE.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the Justice Department Katherine Crytzer was nominated to serve as IG for the Tennessee Valley Authority, a position open for two and a half years.

The Department of Education’s IG position, which has been vacant for 490 days, will be filled by Andrew De Mello, a trial attorney in the Tax Division at the Justice Department. De Mello has served as a senior special counsel in the IG’s office at the Department of Homeland Security since October 2019.

The Export-Import Bank has the longest vacancy for its IG position, totaling 2,111 days, or almost six years. Trump sent a nominee to the Senate in October last year for that position. The Office of Personnel Management’s IG position has been open for 1,509 days, or about four years.

In January, CIGIE launched a website tracking IG vacanies. There are 12 open inspector general positions across the federal government that require presidential nominations.

“No matter how able or experienced an Acting Inspector General may be, permanent leadership at any organization is important for stability and long-term success," CIGIE Chair and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Jan. 14 in a news release by the organization. "Further, by virtue of the authority provided for in the IG Act, permanent IGs inevitably are seen as having greater independence. As such, a timely process for addressing vacant IG positions is crucial to an OIG’s success in overseeing federal programs and personnel.”

Trump also nominated Brian Miller, a lawyer in the White House counsel’s office and former inspector general of the General Services Administration, to be the special inspector general for pandemic recovery, a new position under the latest coronavirus relief package.

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