Obama Accused Of Muzzling TARP Inspector General

neilbarofsky tbi

A story that’s been kind of under-the-radar is the ongoing tension between the White House and various inspectors general, most notably the just-fired inspector general hired to oversee Americorps.

While Americorps is kind of minor, it seems there’s also a dispute between the administration and Neil Barofsky, the Inspector General of TARP.

Chicago Tribune: He was appointed with fanfare as the public watchdog over the government’s multi-billion dollar bailout of the nation’s financial system. But now Neil Barofsky is embroiled in a dispute with the Obama administration that delayed one recent inquiry and sparked questions about his ability to freely investigate.

The disagreement stems from a claim by the Treasury Department that Barofsky is not entirely independent of the agency he is assigned to examine a claim that has prompted a stern letter from a Republican senator warning that agency officials are encroaching on the integrity of an office created to protect taxpayers.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, sent the letter Wednesday to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner demanding information about a “dispute over certain Treasury documents” that he said were being “withheld” from Barofsky’s office on a “specious claim of attorney-client privilege.”

But what’s the issue? It’s not clear. Barofsky’s job (like any other IG) is to investigate waste and fraud and abuse within TARP, but the specific documents he feels he’s not getting arent’ clear.

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