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Weekly Spotlight: More Trouble with the Social Security Watchdog

The saga of trouble at the Social Security Administration’s chief watchdog continues: Inspector General Gail Ennis and her office are back in the news after the release of a preliminary investigation that raised concerns about the office’s past failures to properly notify (or in some cases, notify at all) people who had received disability overpayments before levying exorbitant penalties against them, as part of the office’s anti-fraud program.

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The saga of trouble at the Social Security Administration’s chief watchdog continues: Inspector General Gail Ennis and her office are back in the news after the release of a preliminary investigation that raised concerns about the office’s past failures to properly notify (or in some cases, notify at all) people who had received disability overpayments before levying exorbitant penalties against them, as part of the office’s anti-fraud program. Some people were hit with fines well over $100,000 with zero prior notice. The investigation, published by the Washington Post, revealed that the public “may be subject to financial harm” by the inspector general office’s actions since the program’s inception in 1995. The program was shuttered in January 2023.

We’ve reported on some of Ennis’s failures in the past. Since she took the helm in 2019, the Office of Inspector General has come under fire for mismanagement of the anti-fraud program and for allegedly retaliating against whistleblowers who tried to raise alarms.

That the watchdog still holds her position is unacceptable. Inspectors general are trusted to operate with the highest ethical principles, but Ennis’s actions clearly demonstrate that she can’t be trusted to meet this standard. We’ve already urged President Joe Biden to remove Ennis from her position. You can join the chorus of voices speaking out against Ennis by taking action on our website.


ANALYSIS
Your Privacy is for Sale

And the government is buying.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“We’ve seen plenty of scandals at all levels of government over the years around people not acting in the interest of the public, but rather acting in their own personal interest, their own financial interest, the interest of their friends and cronies.”

Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, Senior Government Affairs Manager, in Detroit Free Press


ONE LINERS

“Far too often, they'll put lower priority things in the base budget, and then put higher priority items in the unfunded priorities list saying, ‘hey, we really need this.’”

Dan Grazier, Senior Defense Policy Fellow, in Responsible Statecraft
 

“This is the way Washington works, there are a lot of defense contractors that are discussing the China threat with an eye out on their bottom line.”

Scott Amey, General Counsel, in The Intercept