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State Inspector General Legislation Sent to Governor
HARRISBURG – Legislation that would statutorily create the State Office of Inspector General and give Pennsylvania’s top fraud, waste and abuse investigator more power and authority has been finally passed by the General Assembly and now has been sent to the Governor.

Senate Bill 527, authored by Senator Ryan Aument (R-36) and Mindy Fee (R-37), codifies the Office of Inspector General, which currently exists only by Gubernatorial Executive Order.

“My goal has always been to make sure we are doing all we can to catch people who cheat government,” said Aument.  “This legislation - which is 30 years in the making - will help us achieve that important goal.”

In addition to creating the office by law, the legislation achieves two other primary objectives.

First, since the Inspector General’s Office will exist by law, it can be given more power and authority to succeed.  Under the legislation, the Inspector General will now have subpoena powers and limited law enforcement authority, something the office currently does not have.

Second, the legislation was built on and includes national best practices for the operations of an Inspector General’s Office and the selection of who holds the Inspector General’s post.

“I am proud to enhance and promote the good work of our Inspector General,” said Fee.  “Under this bill, Pennsylvania’s Inspector General will be able to do his work in a manner that is fitting for an investigator – free of direct undue influence.”

The legislation includes many provisions which promote independence.

For example, for the first time, there will be enumerated qualifications which an Inspector General must meet in order to be appointed. 

An Inspector General cannot be hired based on political affiliation, must be a person of integrity, have a capability for strong leadership and demonstrated ability in accounting, auditing, financial analysis, law, management analysis, public administration, investigation or criminal justice administration or other appropriate fields.

An Inspector General cannot seek elective office during their term, and just as importantly, cannot be dismissed from their job without a substantive reason, including for cause.

The legislation also gives the Inspector General his own line-item in the state budget and places those monies under his jurisdiction, an important component of making sure his budget is not interfered with by other state government leaders.

“When Senator Aument and I drafted this legislation, we worked to not just empower Pennsylvania’s Inspector General, but to create an atmosphere where everyone can have full confidence in his work,” said Fee.

Another key component of this legislation is that it begins a new – and regular - conversation between the Inspector General and the General Assembly.

Senate Bill 527 requires that the Inspector General directly engage the members of the House and Senate by submitting an annual report that details the work of the office, the monetary value of fraud prevention, and the actual recovery of monies from cheaters.  It also invites the Inspector General to tell lawmakers if there are problems in state government that need to be addressed in laws, such as loopholes or other issues.

The legislation was first introduced by Aument and Fee during the 2015-16 legislative session, however it was vetoed by Governor Wolf, who cited concerns with how the legislation created the Inspector General’s Office.

“One of the things I am most proud of,” said Aument, “is that we were able to work with the Governor and both Republicans and Democrats to craft a proposal that I believe will make a meaningful difference for Pennsylvania.”

Rep. Fee echoed Aument’s comments. 

“To me, this legislation represents what people expect of their lawmakers – to actively work to enact meaningful reform in how we structure state government, to promote accountability in how we value scarce taxpayer money, and to find ways to pass quality legislation despite differences,” she said.

Rep. Mindy Fee

37th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Sen. Ryan Aument
36th Senatorial District
Pennsylvania Senate
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