Open government closed, watchdogs shut out

From Project on Government Oversight: With the government shutdown in full swing, you sort of expect these messages, but actually receiving them is still surreal:

“Out of Office Reply: Due to the government shutdown, OSC is currently closed. I will respond to your email message when OSC reopens. Thank you.”

The OSC is the Office of Special Counsel, and it’s responsible for fielding complaints about waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government, along with protecting our nation’s whistleblowers. But with watchdogs such as the OSC out of the office, who’s watching the “essential” employees, contractors, and industry?

During the shutdown, furloughed employees are not allowed to volunteer at their jobs, even if they want to. We spoke with Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner and she said, “Unfortunately, we are only able to follow up on disclosures of substantial and specific dangers to public health and/or safety.” She added, “We have cases of potentially millions of dollars in taxpayer waste that are just sitting now.” The OSC just had a record-breaking year of results, working incredibly efficiently to issue more corrective actions than ever before. The Project On Government Oversight’s Director of Public Policy Angela Canterbury said, “At a time when we should be celebrating more accountability thanks to the OSC, instead Congress has left taxpayer dollars and civil servants completely vulnerable to wrongdoing.”

Visit Project on Government Oversight for more.