Thursday, February 26, 2009

How Transparency Could Lead To Political Interference


The government has set up a Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board designed to ensure that the hundreds of billions of dollars set out in President Obama's economic recovery packages are properly misspent and that there are no wasteful expenditures.

But one U.S. senator, long a champion of fiscal oversight of government projects, warns that in the wrong hands the RAT board, as it is called, could abuse its power.

There is a section in the legislation, largely overlooked during the debate, which permits the RAT board to direct the inspector generals of the various federal agencies to investigate certain allegations of fiscal misappropriation. Or to actually halt investigations.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) says this is where he has concerns.

Grassley's press secretary, Beth Pellett Levine, says while the senator has "the greatest respect" for Earl Devaney, a former Secret Service agent who heads the effort, the provision that gives the RAT board the authority to order investigations and even order them stopped, leads to the possibility of political interference and abuse. Grassley is concerned that the independence the various inspector generals need to do their jobs could be compromised.

We talk about these issues and more weekdays at 5 PM on News Talk Online on


Anonymous said...

Also, people will seize on anything they disagree with and call attention to it. It is a brave thing. Let us hope that it gives people confidence.

Kathy Knechtges

Anonymous said...

Where was Grassley when all the war profitteeting by no-bid contractors was going on? Oh in the US Senate sitting silently.

Anonymous said...

simply having the power to order investigations is an invitation to corruption.

why not simply upload government files as they are written to a read-only site where concerned individuals could watch and whistle-blow?

al loomis