Some things never change …
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, an alleged Republican, has joined Democrats — again — in submitting a letter to President Donald Trump demanding he comply with the investigators who’re set to scrutinize his administration’s coronavirus relief efforts.
In a nearly 500-word letter penned by him and Sen. John Tester, a Democrat, Romney pleaded with Trump to “ensure full transparency and willingness for independent oversight.”
“This is a critical time in our nation’s history and each agency plays a vital role in our recovery,” the duo wrote. “With trillions of taxpayer dollars being spent, it is critically important for the Administration to ensure full transparency and willingness for independent oversight.”
“As you work to implement COVID-19 legislation, we ask that you provide Congress a detailed plan on how the government plans to execute these funds and what accountability measures are being put in place to ensure our taxpayer dollars are being spent efficiently and effectively.”
Read the letter below:
The duo further noted that the emergency coronavirus spending bill signed by the president himself last week explicitly calls for the establishment of a Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery to “conduct, supervise, and coordinate audits and investigations of the making, purchase, management, and sale of loans, loan guarantees, and other investments made by the Treasury Secretary.”
Given as it was Trump himself who’d signed the bill into law, it’s not clear why Romney and Tester believed he wasn’t already aware of this stipulation.
In fact, only after hours the two submitted their letter, the president announced plans to nominate Brian D. Miller, currently with White House Counsel, to the post.
“Prior to his current role, Mr. Miller served as an independent corporate monitor and an expert witness,” a statement issued by the White House reads. “He also practiced law in the areas of ethics and compliance, government contracts, internal investigations, white collar, and suspension and debarment.”
“Mr. Miller has successfully represented clients in government investigations and audits, suspension and debarment proceedings, False Claims Act, and criminal cases.”
The president went ahead and also nominated inspectors general for the Central Intelligence Agency, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Department of Education and the Department of Defense.
— Lemon Slayer (@LemonSlayerUS) April 4, 2020
Because the nominations were announced after Romney and Tester submitted their letter, it may seem as if the nominations were prompted by their pleas. However, this seems unlikely given the time it takes to choose reliable nominees.
Their letter to the president continued as follows: “The Special Inspector General is also tasked with keeping Congress informed through quarterly reports that detail all of the loans, loan guarantees, or other investments.”
“We expect that the Special Inspector General will fulfill its statutory responsibilities, and look forward to working with your administration to ensure robust oversight of taxpayer dollars.”
Reports have emerged suggesting that this particular paragraph was meant as a rebuff of the president’s desire to oversee the SIG’s reports to Congress.
“Section 4018(e)(4)(B) of the Act authorizes the SIGPR to request information from other government agencies and requires the SIGPR to report to the Congress ‘without delay’ any refusal of such a request that ‘in the judgment of the Special Inspector General’ is unreasonable,” he’d said after signing the emergency bill into law last week.
“I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the SIGPR to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required by the Take Care Clause, Article II, section 3.”
Note how he’d cited the Constitution in defense of his assertion.
Despite the multiple levels of oversight that have already been established courtesy the emergency coronavirus spending bill, congressional Democrats have been forming their own partisan investigatory teams this week.
On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy President announced the creation of a seemingly redundant new House select committee to oversee the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis.
Speaking with reporters during a conference call that morning, she said the allegedly “bipartisan” committee will be led by House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a partisan Democrat who only days earlier had bragged about trying to exploit the coronavirus crisis to further push the Democrat Party’s radical agenda.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” – Majority Whip James Clyburn
They are gambling with your future to gain more power.
Do NOT forget this in November. pic.twitter.com/T20YR0feWO
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) March 23, 2020
She further seemed to suggest the primary focus of the committee will be to investigate how the Trump administration doles out the $2 trillion from the emergency coronavirus spending bill that was finally signed into law last week after days of Pelosi-induced delays.
“We face a deadly virus and a battered economy with millions of Americans suddenly out of work,” she reportedly said. “Congress has taken an important step in leading this crisis by passing three bills with over $2 trillion in emergency relief. We need to ensure those dollars are spent carefully and effectively.”
It’s not clear why this clearly partisan committee is needed given the oversight that’s already been established by the spending bill itself.
What’s clear and known is that Romney, who it seems has been in a rush to hold the president accountable, has shown no interest in holding Pelosi accountable for this apparent power grab.
Furthermore, a cursory scan of his Twitter feed showed no examples of him thanking the president for signing the emergency spending bill. Instead credit was offered only to the Democrat-led House:
I applaud the House for coming together to pass our #COVID19 relief package. Congress and the Administration must continue working together to support or medical personnel on the frontlines, stabilize our economy, and provide relief to workers, families, and businesses.
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) March 27, 2020
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