What is watchdog?
The United States police use specially trained dogs, called policedogs, to detect and catch criminals. Many disabled people use licensed trained dogs, called service dogs, to assist them. The watchdog is an American government or private organization that monitors the work of the administrative department and bureaucracy and investigates their unfair and illegal activities and reports them to the appropriate authorities. According to Cambridge Dictionary, “Watchdog is a group that watches the activities of a particular part of the government in order to report illegal acts or problems.”
The United States has the largest democracy and bureaucracy in the world. There are government and non-governmental organizations to control and monitor the power of the hugely powerful administrative department and bureaucracy. Offices of Inspector General, whistleblowers and ombudsmen act as bureaucratic watchdogs to rein in bureaucracy. That is why the recently departed President Donald Trump and President Nixon have to face impeachment by Congress.
The United States’ vast bureaucracy began in 1789 with the creation of three federal departments by President Washington. Bureaucracy became more and more widespread in order to solve various complications in the development of economy, capitalism, business and state management, gradually increasing the population, creating various democratic institutions, and increasing the state structure. After the Second World War, the country’s trade and commerce, labor market, industrial production and agriculture increased greatly, and the free market economy, the administration was not only involved in the governance process, but was made active, people-oriented and public-welfare. Bureaucracy was expanded to engage the administration in its productive activities by taking the people as the root of all activities. That is why the bureaucracy in Western democracies thinks of itself as the servant of the people, treating the people as equal to the master, prioritizing work.
The largest and most powerful arm of the American bureaucracy is the Office of the Inspector General. Every government agency or department has an independent and autonomous inspector general’s office, whose main responsibility is to monitor whether the work of the concerned department is being done smoothly or not, whether there is any kind of injustice, dishonesty, irregularity, law breaking or illegal work. The Inspector General is the head of the office and is appointed by the President himself, most of whom are lawyers or bureaucrats. He is free from any kind of control or notification of the concerned head of department or any other higher authority. Any employee or officer at any level from the common citizen reports any wrongdoing, immorality, nepotism and lawlessness of the concerned agency and to the IG office, The IG’s office investigates and forwards it to the Justice Department and Congress to take appropriate legal action. The reporting person’s or employee’s job security and benefits and all other security are guaranteed by law. The IG’s office is accountable only to the President and Congress. 72 Inspector Generals are working till now through the Office of Inspector General Act 1978.
The second is the whistleblower. It was codified into law by the Whistleblower Act of 1989. Whenever any official or employee of any government or private agency makes a complaint to the Department of Justice, Congress or the OIG office against any wrongdoing, decision, wrongdoing, or violation of the concerned agency or any official or employee, that employee or official is called a whistleblower. Like a football referee who blows the whistle against injustice. Also, the whistleblower’s job and security responsibilities are guaranteed under this law, so that the adversary cannot suffer any kind of retaliatory harassment or other harm due to his complaint. Evidence was presented by whistleblowers at two congressional impeachment hearings of former President Trump.
The third rein is the ombudsman or ombudsman. Although there are appointed embassies at the state and city levels, they are not legislated in the federal government. But the House of Representatives of the Congress performs this duty. Congress takes necessary action through its own hearings on any complaints and grievances.
The last very powerful and extensive organization is called Watchdog. In the historic Watergate scandal, the Washington Post played a watchdog role against President Nixon by covering the scandal.
Beyond the century-old various types of parliamentary and congressional oversight (monitoring) committees, modern constitutional watchdogs emerged in the mid-19th century through the creation of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Office. Congressional monitoring committees began operating under the Prevention of Abuse Act of 1925. A watchdog is any person, group, organization, newspaper, TV, or other social media—that directly or indirectly monitors the activities of another organization, person, or authority (government, private, or non-profit organization) on behalf of the public, any investigates illegal or unethical practices.
Author: Wahiduzzaman Swapan