Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., released a comprehensive report detailing the legislative and oversight work between 2011 and 2014.
“With a mission to ensure Americans are served by an ‘efficient, effective government that works for them,’ the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has driven important bipartisan efforts that have brought ‘genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy,’” the report states. “It has also supported legislation that has, and will, fundamentally transform the ability of the American bureaucracy to remain accountable to the American Taxpayers it serves.”
Through its efforts, the Committee has seen 23 bills enacted into law and 74 bills passed by the House between 2011 and 2014. Notably, the bipartisan Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) was signed into law by the President on May 9, 2014 (p. 35). The DATA Act “requires Federal agencies to publicly report all of their obligations and expenditures–encompassing both external spending, such as grants, loans, and contracts, and internal spending on salaries, supplies, and facilities.” By putting spending information online in an easily searchable format, the DATA Act increases transparency and accountability of federal spending.
On December 19, 2014, the President also signed the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (p. 40). FITARA improves federal IT acquisition, which costs taxpayers nearly $80 billion a year, by providing “common-sense good governance reforms to assist the government in its adoption and employment of critical IT resources.”
Between 2011 and 2014, the Committee “held more than 350 full and subcommittee hearings, sent over 2,000 letters requesting information from government agencies, officials and interested parties, issued over 100 subpoenas compelling the production of documents, and published nearly 60 oversight and investigative staff reports.” The Committee has investigated the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service, the Administration’s failed rollout of ObamaCare and its lack of transparency, the Department of Justice’s Operation Fast and Furious, and the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.
The Committee staff worked tirelessly in each investigation, spending countless hours reviewing documents and materials to uncover answers owed to the American people. For instance, in the IRS targeting scandal, the Committee reviewed millions of pages of documents from the IRS, Treasury Department, and other agencies and conducted 52 transcribed interviews that amounted to 309 hours of testimony (p. 69). The Committee’s investigation found that 80 percent of the delayed requests for tax-exempt status were for conservative non-profit groups, and that not a single “Tea Party” group was approved by the IRS between February 2010 and May 2013.
The Committee has also worked to root out waste, fraud, and abuse by the federal government with oversight of wasteful federal stimulus spending, unsuccessful federal IT acquisitions, abuses at federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, agency obstruction of Inspectors General, and whistleblower protections. The District of Columbia has also been a priority for Chairman Issa, who has worked closely with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC, “to pass federal legislation to address the needs of the city, including bills to promote economic development and to ensure fiscal stability (p. 278).”
You can read a complete copy of the report here.