[Washington Babylon ]Bailout Was Urgent, Oversight Not So Much | Harper's Magazine

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[Washington Babylon]

Bailout Was Urgent, Oversight Not So Much


This is beyond pathetic. ABC reports:

Lawmakers and the Bush administration frantically hammered out a gargantuan package to save the nation’s economy earlier this fall. But their efforts to recruit watchdogs for their creation have lacked the same urgency. Take the White House: it was supposed to name a special inspector general to eyeball the bailout, according to the emergency legislation President Bush signed into law Oct. 3. To date, though, no one has been named. Bush spokesman Tony Fratto said he “would expect” the president to pick someone before he leaves office next January. But, he said, “I can’t give you a sense on timing of any personnel decisions.”

Party leaders on Capitol Hill were supposed to name a special oversight commission to check how the bailout was using its legal authorities, according to the law. But over a month has passed without a single name put forward. “There have been some beginnings of internal discussions,” a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said late last week. “Still working on names,” said a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “No,” said a spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., when asked if her office had been talking with others about the panel. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., did not respond to requests for comment.

They might want to pick up the pace: the panel has its first report due Jan. 20, 2009, according to their legislation.

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