Neil Barofsky, Former head of SIGTARP – the watchdog that oversaw a historic $750 billion dollar bailout during the 2008 recession – recently appeared on Moyers On Democracy to discuss government accountability and the CARES Act. The former Chief Inspector General stressed the importance of accountability for the $2.2 trillion stimulus package Congress recently passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For any chance of this to succeed, right, there just has to be this relentless transparency and oversight. We need to have oversight bodies — the inspector general, the Congressional Oversight Commission, Congress itself, has to be on top of these issues, and has to bring transparency,” said Barofsky.
The stimulus package, which sets aside $500 billion for corporations, inspired oversight concerns among lawmakers and watchdog groups after President Trump claimed he would not allow the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) to report to Congress without “presidential supervision.” Trump, who has failed to divest from his personal businesses in violation of the Constitutional Emoluments Clauses, could potentially benefit from a lack of thorough oversight.
“There’s going to be scandal involved in this bailout. It is unquestionable. There is going to be fraud that is going to be committed in this bailout. There are going to be individuals who are unjustly rewarded, and others who should have been saved and rescued, who will be left on the side to rot…And so what we’re really talking about is limiting how much of that occurs. And that’s where transparency and oversight can play such an important role,” said Barofsky.
Listen to the entire discussion here.