NASA’s controversial inspector general Robert Cobb has resigned following bipartisan calls for his resignation and criticism from fellow watchdogs, most notably a recent Government Accountability Office report that determined he had done little to identify waste or fraud at the space agency. His resignation is effective April 11.
Appointed by then-President George W. Bush in 2002, lawmakers, former colleagues and government watchdogs had expressed concerns in recent years that Cobb compromised the integrity and independence of NASA’s inspector general office by blocking or killing internal investigations and sharing investigative results with then-NASA administrator Michael Griffin before completion. Cobb disputed such accusations, investigations and reports.
News of Cobb’s resignation pleased lawmakers long concerned by his tenure.
Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees NASA said in a statement last night that “News of Robert Cobb’s resignation is certainly welcome and this is an important step forward,” adding later that “The time has come to close the door on this troubling chapter for NASA and a fresh start awaits.”
“It’s about time he heard the loud cries from all around him to step down. Now we can get someone in there who can keep an eye on our money,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said in a statement last night. Rockefeller, McCaskill and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to President Obama in mid-March requesting Cobb’s immediate removal.