The leading members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee have urged new Secretary of State John Kerry to lead the way in finally filling the inspector general vacancy at the State Department — an oversight post that’s been open for five years.

Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) wrote Kerry yesterday, lamenting that the last presidentially nominated, Senate-confirmed IG left on Jan. 16, 2008.

That’s more than 1,800 days without an oversight chief to investigate the department.

“As you begin your tenure, we would like to raise an issue essential to the proper functioning of the Department of State… qualified, independent Inspectors General play an indispensible role in maintaining the efficacy of those agencies, by minimizing waste, fraud, and abuse,” Royce and Engel wrote.

“At a time of grave fiscal challenges, all of us owe a duty to American taxpayers to ensure that their hard-earned dollars are spent properly, and Inspectors General are an integral part of that commitment. We therefore respectfully request that you urge the President to nominate a permanent Inspector General for the Department of State as soon as possible.”

The State Department’s vacancy is the longest of the 73 inspector general posts across the federal government.