WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Deborah Ross’ (NC-02) bipartisan Inspector General (IG) Access Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives as a part of the Inspector General Independence and Empowerment Act. Introduced by Reps. Deborah Ross, Jamie Raskin (MD-08), and Darrell Issa (CA-50), along with Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Subcommittee on Government Operations Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), and Ranking Member Jody B. Hice (GA-10), the IG Access Act will expand the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (DOJ IG) to include investigating allegations of DOJ attorney misconduct.

“Ensuring accountability at DOJ is crucial to a just and fair legal system,” said Congresswoman Ross. “The IG Access Act is commonsense legislation that will strengthen independent oversight of the Justice Department by widening the scope of the Inspector General’s jurisdiction to include misconduct by DOJ lawyers. As an attorney, I understand how important it is to hold the Department accountable and I’m thrilled that we are one step closer to making this important legislation law.”

Currently, DOJ IG has no independent authority to investigate professional misconduct by DOJ lawyers.  The DOJ IG is the only Inspector General with such a jurisdictional limitation.  The Inspector General Access Act would close this loophole, which currently leads to a double standard where every DOJ employee—including FBI and DEA agents, U.S. Marshals, and federal prison guards—except DOJ attorneys can be investigated by the DOJ Inspector General.  As DOJ Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz testified before Congress in 2017:

“This bifurcated jurisdiction creates a system where misconduct by FBI agents and other DOJ law enforcement officers is conducted by a statutorily-independent IG appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, while misconduct by DOJ prosecutors is investigated by a component head who is appointed by the Department’s leadership and who lacks statutory independence.”

Congresswoman Ross spoke in support of the IG Independence and Empowerment Act on the House Floor.