– Domani Spero
According to WaPo, Michael G. Carroll, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s acting inspector general, withdrew his name from consideration to be President Obama’s permanent inspector general today after it has been pending for 16 months. This development came amidst WaPo’s report that negative findings in USAID OIG’s reports were being stricken from audits between 2011 and 2013.
In recent interviews, eight current auditors and employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared retribution complained about negative findings being stricken from audits between 2011 and 2013. In some cases, the findings were put into confidential “management letters” and financial documents, which are sent to high-ranking USAID officials but are generally kept from public view.
The auditors said the office has increasingly become a defender of the agency under acting inspector general Michael G. Carroll. Some auditors said Carroll did not want to create controversy as he awaited Senate confirmation to become the permanent inspector general.
On Wednesday, Carroll withdrew his nomination, which had been pending for 16 months. Carroll declined to discuss his decision. A career government employee, he has been with the office since 2000 and took over as acting inspector general in 2011.
Carroll’s withdrawal comes at a time of growing criticism from whistleblowers who have been in contact with Senate investigators and Post reporters.
“The office is a watchdog not doing its job,” said Darren Roman, an audit supervisor at the inspector general’s office who retired in 2012 after a 23-year career. “It’s just easier for upper management to go along to get along. The message is: ‘Don’t make waves, don’t report any problems.’ ”
The Post tracked changes in the language that auditors used to describe USAID and its mission offices. The analysis found that more than 400 negative references were removed from the audits between the draft and final versions.
In one audit, the number of negative references fell from 113 to 61; in another, from 170 to 13.
As a rule, inspectors general try to ensure that their reports are accurate and reflect the perspectives of the agencies and private contractors they examine. It is not unusual for audits to change between the draft and final reports, but whistleblowers say the changes have gone too far.
At the USAID inspector general’s office, several auditors and employees told The Post that their authority has been undermined, and some have hired attorneys to file whistleblower and employment discrimination claims. Auditors stationed in different offices around the world have come forward with similar complaints.
Read the allegations of disturbing shenanigans reported by the Washington Post in Whistleblowers say USAID’s IG removed critical details from public reports.
At the time of Mr. Carroll’s nomination in June 2013, he was the Deputy Inspector General at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a position he held since May 2012. From October 2011 to May 2012, he was Acting Inspector General at USAID. From 2006 to 2011, he was Deputy Inspector General, and from 2000 to 2004, he was the Assistant Inspector General for Management at USAID.
While Mr. Carroll has now withdrawn him name from consideration as permanent USAID IG, according to WaPo, he apparently told his staff that he plans to remain in the office as a deputy inspector general.
As of this writing, the WH has yet to publish its withdrawal of the Carroll nomination.
Can we please have a congressional hearing on these allegations and make sure the witnesses include people who actually knew what was going on? And please, let’s not have an excuse that some folks were not interviewed because they had left government service and are no longer employees or contractors of USAID.
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