Judicial Watch • Pelosi Wants Dem Loyalist To Head Nonpartisan GAO

Pelosi Wants Dem Loyalist To Head Nonpartisan GAO

Pelosi Wants Dem Loyalist To Head Nonpartisan GAO

APRIL 14, 2010

In a deplorable move to control Congress’s independent nonpartisan investigative unit, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are strong arming a bipartisan selection committee to pick a party loyalist as its director.

The Democrat leaders, also the two most powerful lawmakers in Congress, want a Clinton Administration appointee and major party donor to be Comptroller General of the United States, director of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the congressional watchdog that investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars.

A bipartisan selection committee worked for months to come up with an amicable group of candidates, according to the Washington newspaper that broke the story this week, but the list was nixed by Pelosi and Reid who insist that Linda Bilmes get the post. An Ivy League professor, Bilmes was a Clinton political appointee who’s donated heavily to Democrats and frequently criticizes George W. Bush’s policies.

The selection committee unanimously agreed on three other candidates—the GAO’s acting director, a Republican congressman from Pennsylvania and an assistant comptroller general—but Pelosi and Reid are set on Bilmes and have written a formal letter to the White House promoting her.

This certainly sets a dangerous precedent considering that the GAO is among Washington’s only nonpartisan political organizations. It has vast power to probe all government functions and publishes detailed reports on its findings. Its investigations can make or break government programs and often expose fraud, waste and corruption.

The president ultimately picks the GAO director from the selection committee’s list to serve a 15-year term but the candidate must then be approved by the U.S. Senate. A Republican selection panel member is calling on the commander-in-chief to uphold the GAO’s appropriate role as a nonpartisan and neutral broker, assuring that its politicization will be met with hostility and will not withstand Senate confirmation.

 

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