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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

Places in Washington DC

Norton Calls Federal Law Requiring D.C. Inspector General to Report to Congress on Hang-Ups on Hotline Absurd and Demeaning

Jul 11, 2018
Press Release

Continues to Highlight Obscure Federal Laws that Apply to D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today called a 1997 federal law that requires the District of Columbia Inspector General (IG) to provide quarterly reports to Congress on the number and nature of calls, including hang-ups, received through its telephone number for reporting waste, fraud and abuse an example of how far Congress has gone with intervention into routine D.C. matters.  Pending statehood, Norton has been highlighting the undemocratic, counterproductive, costly and outdated ways the federal government controls the District, including by introducing 11 bills to expand D.C. self-government.

“The requirement that the Inspector General report to Congress on the number and nature of calls it receives on its hotline may be trivial, but it is emblematic of Congress’ abuse of its undemocratic authority over the District of Columbia,” Norton said.  “I am not going to introduce a bill to remove this reporting requirement because I do not want to suggest D.C. has something to hide.  If such a reporting requirement is necessary, that is a matter for the District to decide, not Congress.  However, Congress should be embarrassed that it imposed and maintains this reporting requirement.  Why does Congress need to know that the hotline received 284 hang-ups in the most recent reporting period?

While the hotline report is the only report the IG is required to provide to Congress, the D.C. Auditor, under the Home Rule Act, is required to provide all of his or her audit reports to Congress.  Norton will not introduce a bill to repeal the Auditor’s reporting requirements for the same reason she will not introduce a bill to repeal the IG’s reporting requirement.

Norton has introduced the following bills to expand home rule:

  • The District of Columbia Paperwork Reduction Act (H.R. 1479) would eliminate the congressional review period for D.C. bills.
  • The District of Columbia Local Prosecutor Establishment Act of 2017 (H.R. 1523) would allow the District to prosecute all crimes committed under its local laws.  Currently, the U.S. Attorney for the District prosecutes almost all crimes committed by adults under local D.C. laws.
  • The District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act (H.R. 1658) would give the D.C. mayor the authority to deploy the D.C. National Guard for local matters.  Unlike governors of the states, and even territories, the District’s chief executive officer has no authority over its local Guard.
  • The District of Columbia Home Rule Clemency Act (H.R. 1765) would give the District exclusive authority, like the states and territories, to grant clemency to offenders convicted under its local laws.  Currently, this authority is exercised in D.C. by the President.
  • The District of Columbia Civil Enforcement Equality Act (H.R. 4678) would allow the District to enter into contracts with private attorneys to sue on the District's behalf for violations of D.C. law that may otherwise go unpunished due to a lack of resources.  States, cities and most federal agencies have the authority to enter into such contracts to sue for violations of their laws.
  • The District of Columbia Home Rule Non-Discrimination Act of 2018 (H.R. 5265) would eliminate the applicability of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to the District
  • The District of Columbia Police Home Rule Act (H.R. 6129) would repeal the President’s authority to assume emergency control of the local D.C. police department.
  • The District of Columbia Home Rule Bridges Act (H.R. 6153) would repeal a law that makes it a crime for a person in D.C. to obstruct any bridge connecting D.C. and Virginia.
  • The District of Columbia Courts Home Rule Act (H.R. 6187) would give the D.C. authority over the jurisdiction and organization of the local D.C. courts.
  • The District of Columbia Zoning Commission Home Rule Act (H.R. 6215) would give D.C. the authority to appoint all members of the D.C. Zoning Commission.
  • The District of Columbia Board of Zoning Adjustment Home Rule Act (H.R. 6289) would give D.C. authority to appoint all members of the Board, except when the Board is performing functions regarding an application by a foreign mission with respect to a chancery.

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