Health and Human Services inspector general Janet Rehnquist sent a letter of resignation to President Bush Tuesday saying she will leave her position on June 1.
"I feel it is important to spend more time with my teenage daughters and pursue other professional opportunities," writes Rehnquist, daughter of Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
Since assuming the post in August 2001, Rehnquist has been at the center of a swirl of controversy and subject to several General Accounting Office investigations at the behest of members of Congress.
Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) last October requested the GAO look into whether significant turnover of experienced employees in the Office of the Inspector General since Rehnquist's arrival would weaken that organization's ability to police healthcare fraud.
"This is the right step," Grassley says in a release. "The inspector general job wasn't a good fit for her abilities. I certainly wish her well in her next position. It's very important that we get a bulldog for the taxpayers on the job in the HHS IG office right away. The department handles $530 billion in spending every year. I intend to be very involved in determining who will be taking over."
Other issues the GAO is looking into include complaints that Rehnquist delayed an audit of Florida's state employee pension fund, that she interfered in a case outside of her jurisdiction at the request of a friend, and that she kept a gun in her office.
During her first year in office, Rehnquist says the OIG saved taxpayers more than $21 billion.
"This was the best year ever for the office, and we are poised to beat those numbers this year," Rehnquist writes.
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson defends Rehnquist, calling her "a dedicated, passionate and compassionate public servant."
"From the day she arrived at HHS, Janet articulated and carried out a clear and determined vision for fighting fraud and abuse," Thompson says in a statement. "I admire Janet's integrity, professionalism and intelligence. She is a strong and effective investigator who is providing unprecedented leadership in the Office of the Inspector General."