The more we learn about the provisions of the recently passed stimulus law the more their is to be concerned about. Byron York writing in today’s Washington Examiner sniffs out a RAT buried in the stimulus law:
You’ve heard a lot about the astonishing spending in the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, signed into law this week by President Barack Obama. But you probably haven’t heard about a provision in the bill that threatens to politicize the way allegations of fraud and corruption are investigated — or not investigated — throughout the federal government.
The provision, which attracted virtually no attention in the debate over the 1,073-page stimulus bill, creates something called the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board — the RAT Board, as it’s known by the few insiders who are aware of it. The board would oversee the in-house watchdogs, known as inspectors general, whose job is to independently investigate allegations of wrongdoing at various federal agencies, without fear of interference by political appointees or the White House.
In the name of accountability and transparency, Congress has given the RAT Board the authority to ask “that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation.” If the inspector general doesn’t want to follow the wishes of the RAT Board, he’ll have to write a report explaining his decision to the board, as well as to the head of his agency (from whom he is supposedly independent) and to Congress. In the end, a determined inspector general can probably get his way, but only after jumping through bureaucratic hoops that will inevitably make him hesitate to go forward.
First off how on earth does this do anything to stimulate economy??? It doesn’t so why was it buried in a so called economic stimulus bill?
I don’t know but it stinks to high heaven… As York notes the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board can direct or block investigations by Inspectors General throughout the federal government. Inspectors General have traditionally had the independence conduct investigations without interference from the White House, Congress or the Department of Justice… Now, thanks to the RAT Board their investigations can be subjected to whims of partisan politics.
Michael Laprarie over at Wizbang asks “Anyone care to guess the first investigation — all in the name of “accountability and transparency” of course — that the appropriately-named RAT board will “refrain from conducting”? Roland Burris? The Murtha/PMA earmark scandal? Links between Democrats and Allen Stanford? Control of the Census by the White House? Chris Dodd’s sweetheart mortgage deal? Charlie Rangel’s tax problems? Links between lobbyists from the financial sector and prominent Democrats?”
The Board cannot direct any inspector general to conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation. Your post seriously misrepresents the content of the law. Here is the relevant language.
SEC. 1527. INDEPENDENCE OF INSPECTORS GENERAL.
(a) Independent Authority.–Nothing in this subtitle shall affect the independent authority of an inspector general to determine whether to conduct an audit or investigation of covered funds.
(b) Requests by Board.–If the Board requests that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation and the inspector general rejects the request in whole or in part, the inspector general shall, not later than 30 days after rejecting the request, submit a report to the Board, the head of the applicable agency, and the congressional committees of jurisdiction, including the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives. The report shall state the reasons that the inspector general has rejected the request in whole or in part. The inspector general’s decision shall be final.
Please note the last sentence.