Congressional oversight is a fundamental constitutional duty, and an important tool to detect problems in the government. Recognizing this, a bipartisan congressional Watchdog Caucus has launched with the goal of increasing oversight in government. The caucus’ purpose is to expose fraud, waste and abuse and will promote a more open government.
The Watchdog Caucus’ mission is one we fully endorse: promoting accountability of government employees and creating a culture of transparency and protecting taxpayer dollars.
The goal of the Watchdog Caucus is to empower watchdogs, wherever they are. Watchdogs include inspectors general, federal auditors, Freedom of Information Act officers, whistleblowers and transparency groups like Public Citizen, as well as private individuals.
Taxpayers need and deserve strong watchdogs to guard against waste, fraud and abuse. Watchdog Caucus co-chairs, Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) both have a history of investigating abuse and fraud within the government. Speier has spent the last 29 years encouraging openness on all levels of government and promoting the rights and protections of whistleblowers and others who expose government waste and abuse. Coffman is the chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
“Establishing the Watchdog Caucus is only the first step to get control of the abuses exposed by government watchdogs and to tap the expertise of experienced investigators,” wrote Speier and Coffman in a recent Politico op-ed. “Moving forward, we want to be champions of whistleblowers and a constituency for good government.”
For more about the Watchdog Caucus, visit its web site.
Keith Wrightson is Public Citizen’s workplace safety expert. Keep up with Public Citizen’s workplace health and safety work by following @SafeWorkers on Twitter.
A significant move by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) takes aim at a glaring loophole in the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
In response to overwhelming public pressure – including a record-breaking 322,000 comments — and efforts by the Corporate Reform Coalition the agency has added to its agenda a rule that would require all publicly traded companies to disclose political spending to their shareholders. The SEC plans to consider the rule in April 2013.
“By supporting this rule’s placement on its regulatory flexibility agenda, which in turn is now on the Office of Management and Budget’s Unified Agenda, the SEC has taken a critical step to protect investors and to address the flow of secret corporate political spending that has arisen since Citizens United,” Congress Watch Director Lisa Gilbert said at a tele-press conference on the rule.
The rule would eliminate the paths that corporations have used to hide money they spend to influence elections, like giving to “dark money” nonprofits and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s important to understand the CEOs across America enjoy unchecked authority to spend unlimited sums of other people’s money to influence elections,” Adam Kanzer of Domini Social Investment Funds said. “They funnel millions of dollars to a wide range of tax-exempt entities including trade associations and 527 organizations. In fact, every election cycle we’re dealing with a new provision in the tax code and new type or organization.”