WATCHDOGS, NOT LAPDOGS
The job of an Inspector General is not a pleasant job. Imagine being the person who always carries the bad news, who always shows up to point out mistakes, and who gets people in trouble. Imagine being in an almost-constant adversarial relationship with the people you work around. It takes a rare and thick-skinned person to do that job. But it is a necessary job. Inspectors General are the watchdogs who guard our interests in government. They make sure the dollars our government spends are spent in accordance with the law. Without them, fraud and abuse would run rampant. Well, more rampant than it already does.
That is why they must be independent agents, not beholden to the agency they inspect. The day they become lapdogs and not watchdogs is the day that we lose any semblance of accountability for the trillions dollars our government spends on our behalf.
So the current scandal, wherein three Inspectors General have retired or resigned under what appears to be political pressure from the Obama administration should concern us. Right now, members of Congress are looking into the various allegations, but that won't be enough. We will need tenacious "mad-dog journalists" to dig into the story as well and ask the right questions. Once we get answers to those questions, it will be our responsibility as citizens and taxpayers to make sure that Inspectors General keep their independence.
Our government relies on the checks and balances that keep one branch from becoming more powerful than any other. The Inspectors General are a vital balance against overreach from the Executive Branch. We need to make sure that balance is maintained.