- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 5, 2013

In a rare show of bipartisanship Tuesday, foreign policy leaders in the House pushed the Obama administration to appoint a State Department Inspector General — a position that has officially gone unfilled for more than five years.

While the department’s deputy inspector general Harold W. Geisel has overseen the IG office at State in recent years, President Obama allowed his entire first term, and now the beginning of his second term, to slide by without nominating someone to the post.

The Republican chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the committee’s ranking Democrat sent a letters to Mr. Obama Tuesday, along with newly sworn-in Secretary of State John F. Kerry, calling on the administration to get on with a nomination.

“At a time of grave fiscal challenges, all of us owe a duty to American taxpayers to ensure that their hard-earned dollars are spent properly, and inspectors general are an integral part of that commitment,” Reps. Ed Royce, California Republican, and Eliot Engel, New York Democrat, wrote to Mr. Kerry.

“We therefore respectfully request that you urge the president to nominate a permanent inspector general for the Department of State as soon as possible,” the lawmakers wrote.

In a separate letter, they urged Mr. Obama to fill the vacancy and also appoint a permanent inspector general at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

There was no immediate comment from Secretary of State Kerry’s office.

At the State Department’s Inspector General Office, however, spokesman Douglas Welty pointed out that Deputy Inspector General Geisel “has said in hearings that he welcomes the appointment and Senate confirmation of a permanent inspector general.”

“Until that time, we stay focused on our mission and do the work that we’re hear to do,” Mr. Welty said.

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