Press Release
July 7, 2021

WASHINGTON – Three nonpartisan government accountability and whistleblower advocacy nonprofits today wrote to President Joe Biden urging him to designate a temporary Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA-IG) until he can make a permanent nomination that is confirmed by the Senate. Empower Oversight (EMPOWR), the Government Accountability Project (GAP) and the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) called on Biden to fulfill his pledge to terminate any official who mistreats their fellow public servants or fails to uphold the moral standards of the Administration.

Last week, FHFA-IG Laura Wertheimer resigned effective July 30, 2021 after an internal watchdog committee determined she and two other individuals within the FHFA-IG line of succession had engaged in egregious misconduct. Until the end of July, Wertheimer remains in control of the office and able to designate her successor who will serve in an acting capacity, including senior staff who were also found to have engaged in misconduct.

“Given the historic tendency for vacancies in the IG community to linger, sometimes for years, this situation still demands your attention despite [Laura Wertheimer’s] announced intention to resign,” EMPOWR, POGO and GAP wrote to Biden. “Unfortunately, according to whistleblower contacts with Empower Oversight, a succession plan for the FHFA-IG named one of the senior staff criticized in the IC report, Chief Counsel Leonard DePasquale, as the acting successor.

“An Inspector General who has abused the power of her office should not be able to designate her preferred successor, especially not one of the senior staff that was also found to have engaged in misconduct. Only you can supersede the FHFA-IG’s reported succession plan to install a responsible temporary leader until a Senate-confirmed replacement is in place. To uphold your administration’s values of decency and dignity as you boldly articulated them in your Inauguration Day promise, we urge you to act on this issue consistent with that promise.”

The full letter can be found HERE.

Empower Oversight Whistleblowers & Research (EMPOWR) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to enhancing independent oversight of government and corporate wrongdoing. EMPOWR works to help insiders document and report corruption to the proper authorities while also seeking to hold authorities accountable to act on those reports. Under the leadership of Jason Foster—with 22 years of Capitol Hill experience, including 14 years as counsel to the “patron saint of whistleblowers” U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)—the team at Empower Oversight taps into a wide network of allies to help apply pressure and demand answers on behalf of those who report wrongdoing.