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The DOJ’s Inspector General Can’t Inspect

From the Washington Times:

Justice inspector stripped of probing power

Jerry Seper

Thursday, February 4, 2010

In a terse letter to a Republican lawmaker who requested an investigation of the dismissal of complaints against the New Black Panther Party, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said he should be able to do so, but was powerless because Congress had stripped him of that authority.

In a four-page response to Rep. Frank R. Wolf of Virginia, who had requested that the IG’s office investigate what he called the complaint’s "unfounded dismissal," Mr. Fine said that unlike all other inspectors general who have unlimited jurisdiction to investigate all claims of wrongdoing inside their agencies, his office does not.

Mr. Fine said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, that he understood Mr. Wolf’s desire to have his office review the matter "because of our independence."

But while Mr. Fine had advocated expanding his jurisdiction to allow him to investigate all suspected wrongdoing within the department, Congress had not seen fit to do so.

"Unfortunately, unlike all other OIGs which have unlimited jurisdiction to investigate all allegations of waste, fraud or abuse within their agencies, the Department of Justice OIG does not," he wrote. "For several years, I have expressed my position that Congress should change this jurisdiction.

"I have raised various arguments for this change including … the independence issues that arise because OPR reports to the attorney general," he said…

"When Congress most recently considered this issue in its deliberation on the IG Reform Act, which was enacted in 2008, I again advocated for a change in the jurisdiction between OPR and OIG, to allow us to investigate all matters within the department" Mr. Fine said.

"However, Congress did not include this change in the IG Reform Act. Therefore, the jurisdiction to investigate department attorneys’ legal and litigation decisions, such as the DOJ attorneys’ litigation and legal actions related to the handling of the New Black Panther Party, remains with OPR," he said

The order giving [limited] jurisdiction to investigate the actions of attorneys in the exercise of their legal authority – up to and including the attorney general – was first issued by Attorney General Janet Reno during the Clinton administration. The order was reissued by Attorney General John Ashcroft during President George W. Bush’s administration.

Because the order was later codified by Congress, it would require congressional action to change.

Mr. Wolf had told Mr. Fine that he was "disappointed" in his "reluctance to investigate the unfounded dismissal of an important voter intimidation case," adding that despite repeated requests for information by members of Congress, the press and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the Justice Department "continues to stonewall all efforts to obtain information regarding the case’s abrupt dismissal."

"This obstruction should be of great concern to you and merit an immediate investigation," Mr. Wolf said. "Given that neither the Congress nor the commission can obtain critical information from the department, your authority as inspector general is the only way to learn whether the department has engaged in improper conduct with regard to the dismissal of this case and its hostility to the commission’s statutory authorities and responsibilities."

Mr. Fine explained, however, that he referred the matter to OPR because, by statute, it had jurisdiction in the case. He said his office had been "expressly excluded" by statute.

"The issues you raised regarding the New Black Panther Party case involved the exercise by department attorneys of their authority to litigate and make legal decisions, and whether those decisions were based on improper considerations, such as political influence," he said. "That is why we referred the matter to OPR for investigation."

Mr. Fine also said that in response to the Wolf letter, he inquired into the status of the OPR investigation, adding that it was ongoing and that numerous documents had been collected and several interviews had been completed or were scheduled.

He also said OPR had included in its investigation accusations of whether any improper political influence affected the department’s handling of the case and whether department officials were in contact with the White House concerning the case…

How is it that the Department of Justice is the only federal government agency that has an Inspector General who is so limited in his powers to inspect?

And why did Janet Reno impose this new limitation during the Clinton administration?

It sure sounds awfully convenient.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, February 4th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “The DOJ’s Inspector General Can’t Inspect”

  1. Right of the People says:

    What the hell is the point of having an IG if they can investigate anything!

    Steve, you are correct, I sure Reno did this at the bidding of Slick Willy to cover up something they were doing. I’m just surprised that during the Bush years they didn’t rescind it. Over course since congress had to remove it there was probably politics involved, there always is.

  2. NoNeoCommies says:

    Might as well cut the IG out of the budget and save some dough.
    Let the CWP (Citizens With Pitchforks) take care of issues like this.
    They can just dispense justice and enjoy the same enforced ignorance on the part of law enforcement.

    Oh! Wait!
    That is vigilantism and we have law enforcement to prevent that (when they are allowed to actually investigate and the courts are allowed to sentence and the prisons to punish).

  3. proreason says:

    It’s not just the fault of Slick Willy. Bush could have got it rescinded.

    The entire government is criminal. Oh there are probably a few who aren’t, but not many.

    None of them want anybody else to have any ability to understand what they are actually doing, which in 95% of the cases is enriching themselves.

    Step 1: get the libwits out.
    Step 2: get rid of all of the corruptocrats
    Step 3: put the people back in control of the government

  4. Liberals Demise says:


    Talking “bout Janet (shaky) Reno ………….. could this be a ‘sleeper cell’ they have talked about?

    Q : How do you take the fight out of a dragon?
    A : You pull it’s teeth.
    (One by One)


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