Last week, I blogged about the recent critical GAO report which found that Congress and the Administration have not done enough to implement oversight of the $700 corporate bailout bill that was passed in October. Well, after weeks of foot-dragging, the Senate has finally voted to appoint former New York Prosecutor Neil Barofsky to the position of Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) — the program responsible for doling out all of that money.
This is a good first step, but much more needs to be done. As this exceptional article in the Washington Post reports, IG’s serve at the pleasure of the president, and some have been notoriously loyal to the administration. Further, the IG will not be effective unless he can get credible information about illegal or wasteful spending from employee whistleblowers who can speak up without fear of retaliation. That’s why the most important piece of this, and any oversight effort, is a strong whistleblower law. Congress should pass one immediately.