Wagner introduces proposal increasing transparency in Inspector General reports

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HARRISBURG – Senator Scott Wagner (R-York) introduced legislation that would subject Office of Inspector General (OIG) reports requested by the Governor and members of the General Assembly to the state’s Right to Know Law.

“My main concern is that the Office of Inspector General is best used when it is fighting waste, fraud and abuse in state government,” Wagner said. “We know this because their publicly released reports are transparent in documenting what they do. However, it is a problem when an elected official can pull the office aside to use for their own internal investigation. If that’s how the office can be used, perhaps we should rename it ‘Public Office of Private Investigators.’”

Wagner noted that on occasion, elected officials will ask the OIG to look into specific matters. For example, the OIG did not pull any punches when reviewing the alleged cheating scandal that rocked the Pennsylvania State Police Academy. Wagner pointed out that despite the damning information, that report was made public. However, Wagner’s chief concern is that valuable staff resources were pulled to look into Lieutenant Governor Stack’s misconduct, when those staff could be better served investigating other waste, fraud and abuse.

The OIG’s 2017 annual report states that every $1 spent on investigative activities saved taxpayers nearly $12.

“Those are real cost savings when you put several zeroes behind those numbers,” Wagner said. “In that same report, the welcome message from Governor Wolf reads, in part, ‘The Office of Inspector General plays a unique and vital role in protecting our citizens from fraud and promoting transparent and responsible government.’ I have yet to find how hiding a report is ‘promoting transparent and responsible government.’”

Senate Bill 1018 was recently referred to the Senate State Government Committee.