On March 17, 2010, Kathleen S. Tighe was sworn in as the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Prior to taking the helm at ED's Office of Inspector General (OIG), she was the deputy inspector general of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. From 1995 to 2005, she served as counsel to the inspector general at the General Services Administration (GSA) and, before that, as an assistant counsel for the GSA Office of Inspector General.
From 1988 until 1991, Tighe was a trial attorney in the Fraud Section of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Department of Justice. She litigated cases under the civil False Claims Act representing various government agencies. Prior to her government service, Tighe was in private practice with the law firm Lewis, Mitchell & Moore.
Tighe has played an active role in the operations of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), the umbrella organization for all Federal inspectors general, established by Congress to address integrity, economy, and effectiveness issues that transcend individual government agencies. She is a member of the CIGIE Executive Council, the Audit Committee, and the Information Technology Committee, which she chaired from August 2013 to May 2017.
Tighe has lectured frequently to both government and private organizations on issues relating to fraud, waste, and abuse in government programs. In 2014, she was named by the Institute of Internal Auditors as one of the most influential professionals in government auditing.
Inspector General Tighe serves on a number of interagency committees, including the DATA Act Interagency Advisory Committee, which provides strategic direction to support the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act; and the Government Accountability Office's Domestic Working Group, which advances accountability in federal, state, and local government. In 2011, Tighe was appointed by President Obama to chair the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, a position that concluded in 2015.
Tighe earned her law degree with honors from George Washington University (J.D., 1983) and a master's degree in International Relations from American University (M.A., 1979). She graduated with distinction from Purdue University (B.A., 1976), where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.