White House names accountability board members

The Obama administration has chosen the officials it will count on to lead its accountability board, Vice President Joe Biden announced on July 28. The members, many of them inspectors general, are people who have tried forcefully to root out government waste, he said.

“We are tapping the top leaders across government who have been most aggressive in cracking down on waste to drive change,” Biden said in a statement announcing the appointments for the White House’s Government Accountability and Transparency Board.

Biden, along with other senior Obama officials, originally announced the formation of the board in June as part of the Campaign to Cut Waste.

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The board’s intent is to hunt for ways to make the government operate more efficiently and without misspent money. The administration chose as board members:

  • Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which was set up in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.
  • Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics at the Defense Department.
  • W. Scott Gould, deputy secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department.
  • Allison Lerner, inspector general of the National Science Foundation.
  • Daniel Levinson, inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department.
  • Ellen Murray, assistant secretary for financial resources and chief financial officer at HHS.
  • Calvin Scovel, inspector general of the Transportation Department.
  • Kathleen Tighe, inspector general of the Education Department.
  • Daniel Werfel, controller at the Office of Management and Budget.
  • David Williams, inspector general of the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Neal Wolin, deputy secretary of the Treasury at the Treasury Department.

The board will recommend a broad range of strategies to make spending data more reliable and accessible to the public. It will also develop ways to broaden the use of cutting edge technology to crack down on fraud and make better decisions with better data.

“With our nation’s top watchdogs at the helm, we will deliver the kind of transparency and accountability for federal spending,” Biden said.

While the White House has appointed its board members, versions of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act sit in the House and Senate (H.R. 2146 and S. 1222).

The legislation would set up a similar board, called the Federal Accountability and Transparency Board. During a hearing on June 13, Devaney told Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, that legislation goes further in making a board remain intact.

“They’re both good,” he said about the legislation's and the administration's boards. “But nothing works better than legislation. I really believe that.”

However, neither the House nor the Senate has considered the bills.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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