McKinney Sees IRS Tea Party Targeting Scandal As Example of Why Connecticut Needs an Inspector General

May 13, 2013

Hartford, CT – Connecticut State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield) today applauded the work of J. Russell George, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration who blew the whistle this weekend on the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) improper practice of targeting the Tea Party and other conservative groups for federal tax audits.

Sen. McKinney, who has long advocated the creation of an independent state office of inspector general, said “the continued success of federal inspectors general in rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in government should give the Connecticut legislature pause. The IRS scandal represents a reprehensible abuse of government power and without the watchful eyes of an independent inspector general, it may have gone unchecked. We should provide the same protection to taxpayers here in Connecticut.”

Sen. McKinney has proposed creating a state office of inspector general in every legislative session for nearly a decade and he is trying again this year. Under his proposal, the state Office of Inspector General would have broad authority to conduct audits and investigations of all facets of state government; access directly all records of state agencies; subpoena information and documents; administer oaths when taking testimony; and receive and respond to complaints from agency employees, whose confidentiality would be protected. To protect the integrity and impartiality of the office, Sen. McKinney has recommended the Inspector General be appointed by the Auditors of Public Accounts from a list provided by a bipartisan legislative group.

“Every day we read about government becoming more secretive, more political, and less accountable to the public. An Office of Inspector General helps to ensure government transparency and make sure your hard-earned tax dollars are being spent wisely,” Senator McKinney said.

“Taxpayers would be the greatest beneficiaries of a state Office of Inspector General,” Sen. McKinney said, noting that the federal government currently has inspectors general in all executive branch departments, and in most small agencies. In 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available, federal offices of inspectors general identified $93.9 billion in savings from audit recommendations and investigative recoveries. They also handed down over 6,500 indictments and criminal informations; and made over 6,000 successful prosecutions (Source: Annual Report of the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency).