Green Room

Now Multiple IG-Gate Investigations
UPDATE: Grassley Eyes ‘RAT Board’

posted at 2:09 pm on June 25, 2009 by

One of the points emphasized in my special report at The American Spectator:

Those familiar with the investigations (and yes, that noun is plural) caution against personalizing or politicizing the situation. These sources are especially concerned that inquiries by Republican members of Congress should not be portrayed as a partisan “gotcha” game against the popular new president. . . .

Expect the IG situation at Amtrak to make news in the near future, and investigations continue into the ousting of the IGs at AmeriCorps and International Trade Commission, but there’s another IG story I’m watching closely:

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.

UPDATE: Pat in Shreveport:

One of the many things that concerns me about this story is that were it not for people like Stacy, Malkin, York and other diligent bloggers, it would likely be swept under the rug. There’s just so much else to talk about! Mark Sanford! Everyone loves a good sex scandal! An Argentina love affair with titillating emails! Sex sells, and that’s what will be all over the news today.

Hmmm. Need a sex angle? Amtrak general counsel Eleanor Acheson was Hillary Clinton’s college roommate. As Dan Riehl points out, before she joined Amtrak, Acheson was on the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Tuesday, “Eldie” Acheson spoke at the State Department’s gay pride celebration. No Argentina angle or titilating e-mails yet, but NTTAWWT.

UPDATE II: Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post admirably continues bird-dogging the story:

“I kind of get the impression that there’s kind of a crusade early on in this administration to, how would you say it, short circuit inspectors general,” Grassley said earlier this week during an interview.
Staffers for the Iowa Republican are seeking information into at least five alleged incidents of interference with inspectors general at Amtrak, the Corporation, the International Trade Commission, the Library of Congress and with the special inspector general for the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP). . . .
In addition to the five inquiries, Grassley is also concerned with the establishment of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability (RAT) Board, the panel tasked with overseeing the distribution and use of economic stimulus dollars . . . an obscure part of its authorizing legislation . . . requires inspectors general seeking information on potential waste, fraud or abuse of economic stimulus dollars to clear such investigations with the board.
“I mean it’s irritating,” Grassley said, raising his voice, “for a president that ran on transparency and accountability. He ought to be encouraging all this stuff, not being seen as an impediment.”

Grassley’s not going to let go of this issue — the watchdog bulldog, as it were.

Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Meanwhile, the US Atty. firings were the Worst Thing That Ever Happened Ever.

Save us, Sheldon Whitehouse!

DrSteve on June 25, 2009 at 10:02 AM

Keep digging. With all the crap around these issues, there must be a pony in there somewhere.

cs89 on June 25, 2009 at 12:44 PM

Most. Unappealing. Lesbian. Allusion. Ever.

LimeyGeek on June 25, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Those familiar with the investigations (and yes, that noun is plural) caution against personalizing or politicizing the situation.

Why? That’s exactly what Saul Alinsky says you SHOULD do.

Daggett on June 25, 2009 at 2:25 PM

Most. Unappealing. Lesbian. Allusion. Ever.

LimeyGeek on June 25, 2009 at 1:09 PM

It’s always traumatic when lesbian fantasy meets lesbian reality.

Disturb the Universe on June 25, 2009 at 2:36 PM

Most. Unappealing. Lesbian. Allusion. Ever.
LimeyGeek on June 25, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Hey, I’m sorry if Eldie Acheson is no Lindsay Lohan, but I’m an objective journalist, so I’m stuck with facts, not fantasies.

The Other McCain on June 25, 2009 at 3:13 PM

However, Limey Geek, I promise that if IG-Gate turns into a serious enough scandal that I get a lucrative book deal and a Hollywood contract to turn it into major motion picture, I will insist that the Eldie Acheson character be played by Salma Hayek. Me, I’ll be played by Brad Pitt.

If Bob Woodward gets Robert Redford, I think I deserve at least Brad Pitt.

The Other McCain on June 25, 2009 at 3:16 PM

The Other McCain on June 25, 2009 at 3:13 PM

Lindsay Lohan? Dude….that just makes the whole thing even weirder.

genso on June 25, 2009 at 3:23 PM

KEEP DIGGING!! This could be the story/issue we conservatives need to cling to mercilessly, like a terrier on a rat’s ass.

Walpin gave this country 52 years of honorable service, for what? Now we need to turn this injustice against these fine IG’s to our favor and take down the ogabe “ponzi nest.” I see indictments – Go McCain GO!!

Ris4victory on June 25, 2009 at 3:26 PM

KEEP DIGGING!! This could be the story/issue we conservatives need to cling to mercilessly, like a terrier on a rat’s ass.

I’m digging as hard as I can, but the problem is that there are many REPUBLICAN members of Congress who are ignoring this story. Whether your senators or representatives are R or D, people need to be calling their members and asking them to pay attention to what Grassley is doing. Waste, fraud and abuse ought to be an issue of bipartisan concern, and if the IGs are muzzled, there will be no safeguards.

The Other McCain on June 25, 2009 at 3:31 PM

If the gutless D.C. wing of the Republican party wishes to ignore the issue, that’s fine.

I hope they understand that the flyover-country wing will ignore them in the future.

No guts, no glory – keep digging!

Mew

(who hopes to one day use the phrase “McCain, you magnificent bastard!” )

acat on June 25, 2009 at 5:40 PM

I’ve come to believe that Washington, DC is really just a good ol’ boys club. Doesn’t matter whether they’re R or D; once you’re in the club you’re home free. Screw the nation. Screw the Constitution. Screw everything you dang well please, ’cause your days of following the rules are over.

Thing is, by getting rid of the IG’s Obama is telegraphing his plans. What we’ve seen to now is chicken feed compared to what he’s planning. We talked about the country going commie before the election but it’s still enough to knock you over when you see the train wreck in progress with nobody willing to even try to stop it.

justincase on June 25, 2009 at 8:22 PM

Micheal Jackson and Farrah Fawcett could not have died at the worst time.

DaveC on June 25, 2009 at 9:47 PM