Murkowski: DOE’s Inspector General Must Be Fully Independent and Exercise Good Judgement

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today examined the qualifications of Susan Beard to be inspector general of the Department of Energy. Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, asked Beard about her qualifications and called attention to the significance of the position of inspector general at a hearing held earlier today.

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“I think we can all agree that the Department of Energy needs a permanent Inspector General. But I think we can also agree that given the importance of this position, we have to be sure we have the right person, before we confirm anyone to it,” Murkowski said. “I am committed to ensuring that the individual we confirm is fully independent, with good judgment in difficult situations. The candidate must also have a firm grasp of the responsibilities of an Inspector General – not only to the Secretary, but to Congress as well.”

At Thursday’s hearing, Murkowski pressed Beard on her background and credentials as a member of the senior legal team at the Department of Energy and her ability to transition into the role of an independent inspector general whose legal duty is to report to Congress.

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“To go from being a counselor and advocate at the department to conducting oversight of that very same department heightens the need for true independence in the inspector general’s office,” Murkowski said. “It is the responsibility of the inspector general to report to Congress when appropriate with full and complete information. I would hope that moving forward, we will see more independence and further commitment from inspectors general throughout the administration to fulfill the duty of reporting to Congress with full information.”

Murkowski concluded Thursday’s hearing by reiterating the need for the inspector general to remain independent and non-biased, especially when dealing with pressures from political appointees within the department.

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