After months of waiting, Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), will finally be given the resources and authority he needs to keep a close watch on the bailout.
This afternoon the House passed the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Act of 2009 by a vote of 423-0. The bill, which was originally introduced in the Senate by Claire McCaskill (D-MO), clarifies Barofsky's authority to investigate a wide range of expenditures under the ever-changing TARP. It also gives him the authority to quickly hire new employees and retired government auditors (as we recommended in our recently released IG accountability report).
Barofsky certainly has his work cut out for him, as Treasury recently introduced an ambitious new Public-Private Investment Program to deal with those pesky
toxic legacy assets, and the public and Congress continue to express outrage over the AIG bonuses and counterparty payments. We hope this bill will finally give him all the tools he needs to get the job done.
(In case you haven't seen it yet, yesterday's profile of Barofsky in the Post is a must-read.)
-- Michael Smallberg