House Inspector General Retiring

Posted December 3, 2009 at 1:17pm

Updated: 6:55 p.m.House Inspector General James Cornell is retiring as the House’s in-house auditor and investigator, officials announced Thursday afternoon.“James Cornell’s distinguished service as Deputy Inspector General and Inspector General helped the House be good stewards of the public trust,— Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “His energy, professionalism and dedication to the House will be sorely missed.—Pelosi and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) praised Cornell’s professionalism during his five-year tenure. Cornell often “tackled some of the toughest internal issues facing the House,— Boehner said in a statement.“In a nutshell, Jim Cornell called them like he saw them, regardless of which party was in the majority — high praise indeed for anyone tasked with serving both sides of an institution intentionally designed to operate along party lines,— Boehner said.Cornell serves as the House’s internal watchdog, investigating issues within the chamber at the direction of the House Administration Committee and House leadership. His reports are rarely made public.But in recent years he has discovered, among other things, that a former aide to Rep. Loretta Sanchez was embezzling money and that several “shared staffers— were improperly billing Members. In 2008, he also wrote a report on the House Page Program, recommending new positions and regulations to improve supervision of the teenagers.Robert Brady (D-Pa.) and Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) — the chairman and ranking member of the House Administration Committee — both released statements Thursday commending Cornell for his dedication and integrity. Cornell’s “hard work and tenacity for thorough analyses have been vital to ensuring the success of the House’s administrative and financial operations,— Lungren said.Cornell’s resignation will become effective Jan. 2. A new inspector general will have to be appointed by the Speaker, the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader “acting jointly,— according to House rules.“Jim is a perfect example of the exceptional public servants who work in the background, absent the fanfare, but without whom this great institution could not function,— Brady said. “Jim’s example will serve as an important model as my Committee begins the daunting search for someone to fill his considerable shoes.—