WASHINGTON—In light of President Trump’s removal of seven Inspectors General—including the one tasked with oversight of the $2 trillion COVID-19 relief fundsU.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Thursday announced legislation to enhance the independence of inspectors general and allow them to do their jobs without fear of political retribution. Specifically, the Inspectors General Independence Act establishes seven year terms for inspectors general and protects them from politically-motivated firings by only allowing for removal for cause. U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) will introduce the House companion of this legislation. 

“We simply cannot allow President Trump to weaponize independent oversight positions in his administration to reward his friends, punish his political enemies, and cover up wrongdoing. That’s why I am calling for inspectors general to be appointed for seven year terms and to only allow their removal for cause. If recent events have shown us anything, it’s that we desperately need federal watchdogs to safeguard our system from political abuse by Trump and his allies,” said Murphy.

“The removal of seven Inspectors General without just cause is reckless and appears to be political retaliation. An Inspector General shedding light on serious problems is a good thing; I have always said sunlight is the best disinfectant. If anything, our Inspectors General need more power, not punishment, so they can hold bad actors accountable.” said Cooper.