Advocates for transparent and corruption-free government agree that independent Inspectors General are a critical asset in ensuring that public funds are not wasted or endangered by corrupt officials. More and more states and cities in the U.S. now have Inspectors General as part of their oversight structures, and the numbers keep going up.
But setting up an Inspector General’s office and providing it with some form of independent powers and a budget does not always guarantee a happy ending for seekers of honest and efficient government, even when an OIG is demonstrably successful at its mission of saving taxpayer money by revealing fraud and waste. Both Louisiana State Inspector General Stephen Street and former New Jersey State Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper have faced numerous challenges to their offices over the last few years. These challenges came in different forms and from different places, but all threatened the very existence of these critical oversight entities.
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Cooper, Mary Jane and Street, Stephen, "Independent Inspectors General Under Siege: A Tale of Two State Inspectors General" (2017). Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity (Inactive). 38.