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Project on Government Oversight

Congressional Pressure Finally Leads to Resignation of NASA IG

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April 3, 2009

Government Executive reported today that NASA Inspector General (IG) Robert "Moose" Cobb has resigned amidst pressure from Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and Charles Grassley (R-IA) calling for his removal. The Senators cited his "ineffective audit record, stalled investigations, whistleblower retaliation, and improper social relationships with the NASA officials whose work he was tasked with overseeing" as reasons for his removal.

POGO has been concerned about the independence of the NASA IG since 2006, when the Orlando Sentinel released reports of his lack of integrity and independence, as obtained from an investigation conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Inspector General. In 2007, POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian called for his resignation, in testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee's Subcommittee on Space, Aeronautics and Related Sciences and the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations:

The record reflects Mr. Cobb's overriding sense of loyalty to NASA's image above a sense of duty to the public and Congress. POGO agrees with Chairmen Nelson and Miller, as well as with the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE), that Inspector General Cobb has clearly demonstrated an appearance of a lack of independence from NASA. It is because of this behavior that I believe Mr. Cobb is unable to fulfill his role as an Inspector General.

As detailed in POGO's latest report, Inspectors General: Accountability is A Balancing Act, attempts to hold Cobb accountable for his actions demonstrated systemic concerns with holding IGs accountable through the Integrity Committee. POGO applauds Senators McCaskill, Rockefeller, and Grassley for exerting the pressure necessary to remove Mr. Cobb, but his departure should have been announced years ago.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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