Labor Department inspector general leaving, latest in string of watchdog departures

The resignation announcement comes the day after Scott Dahl testified about fraud during the coronavirus pandemic.
Image: The U.S. Department of Labor Building  in Washington, DC.
The U.S. Department of Labor Building in Washington, DC.Alex Edelman / AFP - Getty Images file

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By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — The inspector general for the Department of Labor, Scott Dahl, announced Tuesday that he plans to retire from his position in a few weeks, adding to the spate of government watchdogs recently leaving their roles.

"After 29 years of government service, I have decided to retire from my position as Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Labor, effective June 21, 2020. This decision has been long in the works and is for entirely personal reasons," Dahl said in a statement.

Dahl added that he has "not been told or asked to resign" and he emphasized how inspectors general "serve a critical role in our democracy, shining a bright light on government to protect the taxpayers’ investment."

He said that in the last 40 years, independent oversight has resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers and the convictions of tens of thousands of criminals.

His announcement came a day after Dahl told lawmakers on a House oversight subcommittee that his office has seen a "significant amount of fraud" in unemployment programs during the coronavirus epidemic, according to Politico. The report said that Dahl was also surprised that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued only one citation during the crisis so far.

Dahl was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed as the Labor Department’s inspector general in 2013. He previously served as inspector general of the Smithsonian Institution and held other roles within that government watchdog community.

His forthcoming departure comes after a string of other inspectors general leaving. The Trump administration has replaced watchdogs at several departments in recent weeks, including State Department Inspector General Steve Linick; acting inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, Christi Grimm; acting inspector general of the Transportation Department, Mitch Behm; and a top Pentagon official, Glenn Fine, leading the committee responsible for overseeing implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief law.