WASHINGTON – The Arkansas House delegation wants to make it easier for the public to track waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government ferreted out by government auditors and investigators.
The four Republicans are backing legislation that would require the government to set up a website where inspector general reports would be accessible to the public.
"These reports are difficult, at best, to locate and to understand. The Sunshine on Government Act will help the public more easily find and better understand these reports," said Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro.
Crawford introduced the bill Monday with Reps. Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, and Steve Womack, R-Rogers, as co-sponsors.
Crawford is hoping that Democrats and Republicans will quickly get behind the legislation as an easy way to bring more transparency and accountability to the federal government.
"The American people should be able to easily find these reports and the resources to understand and use them," he said. "Anything less will only lead the American people to believe we are not serious about shining a light on the problems within the federal agencies."
Crawford introduced a similar bill previously after the inspector general for the General Services Administration detailed lavish spending by the agency on a 2010 conference in Las Vegas. That legislation drew no co-sponsors and never moved forward.
Crawford said he is more determined this time around to gather co-sponsors and push the issue forward given the intense interest in recently exposed IRS and Justice Department abuses.
There are more than 70 offices of inspectors general that employ criminal investigators and auditors to detect and prevent fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement of programs across the federal government.
"Inspector General Reports are generally available on each covered entity’s website but there is no consistency in their location or format, making it difficult for the public to both find and use them," Crawford wrote in a letter to colleagues.
The bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to provide a single website with links to the area within each federal agency’s website that is dedicated to OIG reports.
The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency website currently has links to about 70 offices of inspectors general across the government. Some military inspectors general are not included on the list but can be found through the Department of Defense Inspector General website.