Officially In: John F. Sopko – from Law Partner to SIGAR

On May 23 President Obama announced the appointment of John F. Sopko as the next Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). The WH released the following brief bio:

Photo from cspan

John F. Sopko is currently a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a position he has held since 2009. From 2007 to 2009, Mr. Sopko served as Chief Counsel for Oversight and Investigations for the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Previously, he was Deputy Director of the Homeland Security Institute from 2005 to 2007, and Minority General Counsel and Chief of Investigations for the U.S. House Select Committee on Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005. From 1999 to 2003, Mr. Sopko held a number of roles at the U.S. Department of Commerce, including Deputy Director of the National Technical Information Service, Acting Assistant Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement, and Chief Counsel for the Special Matters Unit at the Office of General Counsel. From 1982 to 1997, Mr. Sopko was Deputy Chief Counsel at the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and from 1978 to 1982, he was Special Attorney at the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.

He holds a B.A. in Economics and Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

WaPo writes that the previous inspector, Arnold Fields, a retired Marine major general, resigned in January 2011 after “a review by the Council of Inspectors General found that many of his office’s audits barely met minimum quality standards and that Fields had not laid out a clear strategic vision.”

SIGAR conducts audits and investigations to: 1) promote efficiency and effectiveness of reconstruction programs and 2) detect and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.  President Obama designated Steven J Trent as Acting Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction on September 3, 2011.

This is a presidential appointment that does not require Senate confirmation. So hopefully, the new appointee will hit the ground running.

Domani Spero

Related item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts | May 23, 2012