Obama vs. the Watchdogs

From my special report today in The American Spectator:

Neil Barofsky is “SIGTARP,” the special investigator general whose job is to keep an eye on disbursement from the Troubled Assets Relief Program, the $3 trillion financial bailout that was rushed through Congress in October. Last week, Grassley sent a stern letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, asking about “a dispute over certain Treasury documents that were being withheld from SIGTARP auditors on a specious claim of attorney-client privilege.”
At stake in the TARP case — as in the cases of the IGs at Amtrak, AmeriCorps and the ITC — is whether the inspectors generals will remain vigilant watchdogs on behalf of taxpayers or become compliant lapdogs, allowing Obama’s political appointees to do as they wish without fear of independent scrutiny.
Given the controversial nature of the TARP — including the public outcry over bonuses paid to top employees of insurance giant AIG, a bailout beneficiary — Grassley is by no means the only member of Congress interested in preserving Barofsky’s independence. In April, Geithner was grilled by Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling and other members of Congress at a hearing after Barofsky reported a “staggering” amount of fraud in the bailout program.
Hensarling is one of the staunchest critics of TARP and, as ABC News reported last week, the Texan sent a letter to Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the congressional panel charged with overseeing the bailout, warning that Treasury’s actions were a “threat to [Barofksy’s] independence.” . . .

Please read the whole thing. There are now multiple investigations underway into the Obama administration’s apparent effort to play Chicago-style with the IGs. Expect this story to be making headlines for a while.

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