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Retaliatory firings of inspector generals put tax dollars and country at risk

Vox Pop

What do the names Glen Fine, Michael Atkinson, Christi Grimm and Steve Linick have in common? They are the names of four inspector generals President Trump has fired in the last two months. Inspector generals are independent ‘watchdogs’ authorized by Congress to make sure tax dollars are not misappropriated and the actions of their respective departments are legal.

While it is disappointing Mr. Trump does not like or want congressional oversight, it is alarming when he retaliates against those that have done their job or even those that might do their job. Glen Fine was supposed to lead a panel to keep tabs on how trillions of dollars for pandemic relief were spent. He was fired before he could take his position. The result was 25% of the total $2.2 trillion went to fewer than 2% of firms getting relief. Ten percent,of the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Plan was in loans of more than $350,000 with at least five large companies getting loans of $10 million. Many small, independent companies discovered there was no money left for them.

Trump fired Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community, after he told lawmakers about a whistle-blower complaint that ultimately prompted impeachment proceedings.

Christi Grim, the principal deputy inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, was fired when her office revealed the dire state of the nation’s response to the Covid-19 pathogen.

Steve Linick, inspector general for the State Department, opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s use of government employees to provide ‘personal services’ for him and his wife. Mr. Linick was fired Friday.

These retaliatory actions put tax dollars and the country at unnecessary risk. They are a sign of weakness, not the mark of a leader. America needs a leader.

— Maxine Luchterhand, Unity