We are of course relieved that the federal criminal investigation of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) has been closed without any charges being filed against the head of the office, Stuart Bowen, or his deputy, Ginger Cruz. At a bare minimum, we would hope that Inspectors General would always be above suspicion of having violated federal criminal law. However, as Dan Friedman points out, there is still ongoing an administrative inquiry by Bowen's peers in the IG community, focusing on various allegations of inappropriate or unethical behavior, including "charges that Bowen wasted resources on a project to complete a book about Iraqi reconstruction."
While not prejudging the results of that inquiry, POGO clings to the belief that IGs must be above reproach and should be held accountable for how they conduct their business. The public depends on their independence and objective assessment. In Bowen's case, he has been accused of reckless spending and bad, even destructive management of his staff and office. Danielle Brian has previously blogged on the Washington Post revelation that Bowen had not only countenanced substantial abuse of overtime rules by his staff members but also apparently committed it himself.
We really hope that the next IG will be held to a higher standard than not having been indicted.
-- Beverley Lumpkin