Janet Rehnquist

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Janet Rehnquist (born May 4, 1957), is a former inspector general of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a prominent Republican, and the daughter of former Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

Resignation and controversy[edit]

While the IG Act of 1978 requires that IGs be selected based upon their qualifications and not political affiliation, Presidentially appointed IGs are considered political appointees and are often selected, if only in part and in addition to their qualifications, because of their political relationships and party affiliation. An example of the role political affiliation plays in the selection of an IG, and the resulting pitfalls, can be seen in the 2001 Republican appointment (and resignation under fire) of Janet Rehnquist[1] (daughter of conservative U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, William Rehnquist) to the post of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by incoming President George W. Bush.[2]

CBS News obtained documents showing that, Governor Jeb Bush's chief of staff Kathleen Shanahan left Janet Rehnquist an urgent message and asked her to put off an audit into an alleged $571 million overpayment to the State of Florida discovered in 2002. Rehnquist quickly ordered a two-week delay of the audit. Two weeks stretched into five months, after Rehnquist ordered her audit team to "proceed with (an) audit in North Carolina first, then do Florida." This put the audit well after Jeb Bush's election. It is alleged that Rehnquist then tried to halt an investigation by congress.[3]

When the Congress began an investigation into the matter, Rehnquist resigned in March 2003 as Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) amid controversy, saying she wanted to spend more time with her family.[4][5][6] Rehnquist's job was to investigate fraud, waste and abuse at HHS, including Medicare fraud.


  • "Pension fund probe urged." Miami Herald Mar 14, 2003.
  • "Janet Rehnquist, the embattled inspector general of the Department of...." Medical Marketing & Media, Apr 1, 2003.
  • "Report Cites HHS IG's 'Failures'; U.S. Won't Charge Janet Rehnquist." Washington Post, Apr 13, 2003. Start Page: A.06
  • Lee, Christopher, "GAO Cites Janet Rehnquist's Lapses; Former HHS Official Created Atmosphere of 'Distrust,' Report Says." Washington Post, June 11, 2003.