Dear Association Members and Friends,
“This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.
On December 16, 2016, President Obama signed the Inspector General Empowerment Act into law. With the passage of this legislation, federal inspectors general will now be guaranteed access to information necessary to do their jobs. This was a landmark victory for the entire community of Inspectors General. There were many developments that led to this legislation being pursued, not the least of which was the position taken by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that the words “all records” in Section 6(a) of the Inspector General Act of 1978, did not actually mean “all records”; and therefore, the DOJ Inspector General would not be allowed access to required information. It was the consensus of the IG community that this interpretation defied common sense and clearly undermined the original intent of the Inspector General Act of 1978.
Some of you may recall that in November of 2015, I signed a letter on behalf of AIG to the Chairmen and ranking members of the oversight committees expressing our grave concern over the OLC opinion, and desire that it be addressed legislatively. Those of you who attended our Boston training conference last November heard from Jason Foster, Investigative Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee, who kept us informed about the progress of the IG Empowerment Act. This victory was accomplished through the efforts of many, including the Association’s Government Affairs and Executive Committees. I am very proud of the IG Community for standing together on such an important issue.
These events remind us that we must continue to be vigilant. The very nature of the Inspector General business means that there will always be those trying to hinder what we do. The attacks will come in various forms: funding, lawsuits, or even a legal memo that says the word “all” doesn’t mean “all.” We must maintain a careful watch and guard against complacency. As AIG President, I am committed to doing just that.
In other news, there are many AIG events on the horizon for 2017. Applications are now being accepted for the March 2017 Inspector General InstituteÓ to be held in Jacksonville, Florida. But, if you intend to apply, please do so soon because we expect to be at full capacity. Thanks to Phil Zisman and the AIG staff, and Bob Clift, Hector Collazo, Steve Pasichow and Howard Schwartz for all their great work in keeping our Institutes running at a high level. We are also very excited about holding our 2017 Summer Institutes at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan in August, and our Annual Training Conference in Austin, Texas in November. A lot to look forward to!
In the meantime, let’s keep the lights on, our eyes open and never give up!
Stephen B. Street, Jr., AIG National President