President Barack Obama promised transparency and accountability for how the federal government spends the trillions – or is it quadrillions (I’ve lost count)? – in bail-out money, stimulus outlays, and expanded government programs. Alas, his administration doesn’t seem interested in living up to his promises.
The watchdog for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the government’s financial rescue plan, said today that the Treasury Department has not been cooperating with oversight efforts up to this point.
“We do not seem to be a priority for the Treasury Department,” the Congressional Oversight Panel’s Elizabeth Warren told a Senate Finance Committee hearing today.
“We have sent letters. We have requested that there be someone named so that we can get technical information. And so far, we have not been a first priority,” Warren said. “We use what you give us, and we will exercise the leverage given to us by Congress. In part, that’s why I’m here today. I’m here to talk to you about what’s happened so far, what we have discovered so far, the inquiries that we have in mid-stream and for which we continue to await responses.”
Warren, visibly frustrated with a lack of cooperation from the administration, emphasized, “This problem starts with Treasury.”
Obviously, this isn’t the first time that a presidential commitment has gone aglimmering. But given the extraordinary opportunity for pervasive waste, fraud, and abuse in the tsunami of new federal spending, few presidential commitments have been as important.