The chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday demanded the Obama administration explain why it allowed Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the only Secretary of State in more than a half-century without a permanent independent watchdog to police conduct inside the department.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, wrote in a letter to Mrs. Clinton’s successor, John Kerry, that he thinks some of the problems uncovered after the fact about Mrs. Clinton’s tenure, such as improper handling of classified information on a private email server, may have been prevented or detected had President Obama named a permanent inspector general at the State Department much sooner.
“Secretary Clinton is the only Secretary of State to have served every single day of her tenure without a permanent IG overseeing the Department since that watchdog position was created in 1957,” Mr. Grassley wrote in demanding the department provide his committee answers to several questions.
“The Obama Administration should answer for why it allowed that to happen,” he added. “There’s been no transparency on the reason for the lack of an appointment for so long. We’ll never know the extent of the damage to good governance caused by this lapse, but it’s fair to say some of the problems exposed lately probably could have been prevented with a permanent inspector general in place.”
For the entirety of Mrs. Clinton’s tenure, the department had only an acting inspector general who had never been confirmed by the Senate.
Since a permanent watchdog was named to the job a year ago, several investigations have uncovered wrongdoing and serious concerns about activities that occurred on Mrs. Clinton’s watch, ranging from her use of a personal email server to perform government business and handle classified information to questions about special employment arrangements that let a top aide serve both in government and the private sector at the same time.