Monday, December 17, 2012

Would the IG Shoot Bureacratic Miscreants?

I assume that many of the readers who consume this blog are familiar with various federal government rules and regulations, most of you having toiled for Uncle Sam or worked closely with one or more of our government’s many agencies or departments.

Not all readers, maybe, but most.

As such, like me--who worked on and with Capitol Hill, in federal regulatory agencies, and at Fannie Mae--you are casually aware of most of the laws—not all, but most—which apply to your special interest area or expertise.

Tax lawyers know the codes and the politics of the tax writing committees, “housers” know FHA, Fannie and Freddie, mortgage interest deduction, some banking laws, and agriculture types know about wheat, milk, corn issues, Ag subsidies and on and on.

Now that I’ve built you up for this quiz, here’s the question?
How many of you know that Inspectors General—the internal legal internal  in every major agency throughout the federal government—and/or their deputies are permitted to carry firearms, if they get the specific approval to do so from the Attorney General of the United States?

Here’s the citation.

U.S. Code, Title 5 Appendix

(e) (1) In addition to the authority otherwise provided by this Act, each Inspector General, any Assistant Inspector General for Investigations under such an Inspector General, and any special agent supervised by such an Assistant Inspector General may be authorized by the Attorney General to—

(A) carry a firearm while engaged in official duties as authorized under this Act or other statute, or as expressly authorized by the Attorney General;

I didn’t know this and I was stunned to find out about it. A former DOJ official later told me that many IG’s are eager to carry badges and guns.

This exaggerated blog build up—which hopefully has you waiting with baited breath--is the forward to discuss something I was told last week, which I hope it is not true and is just the product of some diseased mind (other than my own) trying to start trouble or, more likely, throw gasoline on a nascent bureaucratic fire.

The story  is that the Inspector General of a certain federal financial regulatory agency, often mentioned in this blog, sought permission to arm himself in order to properly carry out the IG’s official responsibilities.

The rumor did not relate to the Credit Union Administration (CUA) or the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

If this is unsubstantiated BS designed to harm the purported principal or just mindless bureaucratic chit chat, let me apologize now to anyone feeling maligned in my retelling.

However, if the reverse is the case and this incident is true, someone might want to ask, “What the hell is this all about? What’s this lawyer’s justification?”

I cannot comprehend anything which goes on in said official’s world that can justify packing heat?

Since an IG is almost always looking “inward’ at matters within his agency, does this mean the individual would carry a gun when meeting with his boss, colleagues or junior staff. If so, would the unarmed be aware that one (more?) of their brethren is lethal?

How about if the IG attended a meeting outside the building at one of the institutions the agency regulates, would officials there be told that he is armed? What if he attends a meeting of other agency colleagues?

Are the requests to carry and the AG’s decisions (to grant or reject them) public information?

“Holy MBS Batman, what the hell is this all about?”

“I don’t know, Boy Wonder, but I’d like to!”

I hope most who read this find it as funny and ludicrous as I do.

If anyone can verify this specific story—meaning if it is true and not urban legend-- respond in the comment section of the blog. And, if it  did not happen, please let me know that, also.

(Ooops, just told that the WSJ hinted at this story last year and may have named names.)

Maloni, 12-17-2012

(Please pray for the children in Connecticut, their familes, friends, and community.)


Bill Maloni said...

OK--You clever Washington types likely have figured out that the story I recounted referred to Steve Linick, the Inspector General for Fannie's and Freddie's regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Office. I confess that I don't know if he carries a weapon or sought the AG's permission to do so.

But, here is the snippet from the Wall Street Journal, which ran a year ago.

“When Steve Linick first met senior managers at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac early this year, he told them he would be no ordinary Washington regulator. His office has the power to make arrests, issue subpoenas and conduct searches, and some of his employees carry badges and guns.”

My question still stands, why would anyone in that position, with his responsibilities, need to go around armed or have staff who "packed?"?

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