WASHINGTON – Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Inspector General Access Act of 2018 today, a bill that would expand the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General to include alleged DOJ attorney misconduct.
“Our federal government inspectors general do a valuable job providing the information voters and lawmakers need to hold federal government agencies accountable,” Sen. Lee said. “Unfortunately the Department of Justice OIG currently does not have the power to review the conduct of DOJ attorneys, an oversight which this legislation corrects.”
“Misconduct by DOJ attorneys is a serious matter and should be investigated by an independent Inspector General, not by other Department attorneys, so there is no real or perceived conflict of interest. This bill ensures that the Justice Department’s inspector general is able to access and independently evaluate allegations of misconduct by Justice Department attorneys,” Grassley said.
The Inspector General Access Act of 2018 is identical to the bipartisan Inspector General Access Act of 2015. Both bills amend Section 8E of the Inspector General Act of 1978 by removing the requirement that the DOJ OIG refer all allegations of DOJ attorney misconduct to the Office of Professional Responsibility.
“One of the key lessons learned from the case of the late Senator Ted Stevens is that the Justice Department desperately needs a credible, independent watchdog to examine attorney misconduct. Currently, the independent Inspector General of the Department of Justice has jurisdiction to investigate every component of the agency with the exception of the attorneys. This legislation gives the Justice Department’s Inspector General the jurisdiction to objectively examine the actions of the legal staff, ensuring the Senator Stevens’ experience is never repeated.”