Today I have signed into law H.R. 928, the "Inspector General Reform Act of 2008." The Act amends various authorities related to Federal Inspectors General.
Section 6 of the bill gives Inspectors General the right to obtain legal advice from lawyers working for an Inspector General. It is important that Inspectors General have timely and accurate legal advice. It is also important that agencies have structures through which to reach a single, final authoritative determination for the agency of what the law is. This determination is subject to the authority of the Attorney General with respect to legal questions within, and the President's authority to supervise, the executive branch and, of course, the courts in specific cases or controversies. To this end, the "rule of construction" in section 6 ensures that, within each agency, the determinations of the law remain ultimately the responsibility of the chief legal officer and the head of the agency.
Section 8 of the bill includes provisions that purport to direct or regulate the content of the President's budget submissions, including provisions that purport to direct the President to include the comments of Inspectors General with respect to those submissions. The President's budget submissions are recommendations for enactment of legislation appropriating funds. The executive branch shall construe section 8 of the bill in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to recommend for congressional consideration such measures as the President shall judge necessary and expedient.
George W. Bush
The White House,
October 14, 2008.