When the Trump administration first proposed spending trillions of dollars to bail out reeling industries, eyebrows were immediately raised by Democrats who worried that the effort to prop up our nation’s insatiably greedy corporations would be just another way for the president and his oligarch buddies to funnel taxpayer money into their wallets.
From the outset, the Trump team has tried to exploit the coronavirus crisis to keep Democrats from conducting oversight of the money and how they spend it, issuing restrictions to keep administration officials from testifying in front of Congress during the pandemic.
Republicans in Congress have fought tooth and nail to keep the Democrats from creating their own select panel to oversee the dispersal of funds, claiming that oversight measures in the original bill, like a committee of two dozen federal inspectors general led by Pentagon IG Gen. Glenn Fine, would be sufficient.
But it appears the Democrats’ fears were well placed, as the Trump team abruptly announced on Tuesday that he would be removing Gen. Glenn Fine and appointing the EPA inspector general in his place.
The news began circulating on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning. Glenn Fine, who was acting Pentagon IG, had been named by his colleagues to oversee the coronavirus panel.
But Trump named the EPA inspector general to take Fine's position, negating Fine's appointment.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) April 7, 2020
The move represents the latest salvo in a recently escalating attack on our nation’s inspector-generals and oversight mechanisms; last Friday, Trump abruptly fired the intelligence Inspector General who informed Congress of the whistleblower complaint that led to his impeachment and yesterday began relentlessly trashing the Inspector General of Health and Human Services report that found hospitals in the United States woefully unprepared to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Add your name to reject Trump & Republicans’ vile idea of sacrificing seniors’ lives to save the stock market!
House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) charged that Trump is engaged “in an assault against independent Inspectors General since last Friday in order to undermine oversight of his chaotic and deficient response to the coronavirus crisis.”
The abrupt removal of Gen. Glenn Fine is a clear sign that the Trump administration has no intention of letting anyone conduct meaningful oversight of the historic two trillion-dollar bailout. The burden falls to Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats to come up with creative solutions on how to orchestrate executive accountability during an unprecedented situation.
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Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.