The short version? Having the government do your restructuring for you isn’t necessarily the brightest thing in the world. Particularly when there’s a variety of conflicting objectives. At least, if what you’re trying to do is actually create a better version of your company; if your goal is to use government fiat to streamline the operations of your newly government-owned automobile manufacturer it apparently works out just fine.
Longer version after the fold.
Continue reading SIGTARP auto report out.
Pride of place probably goes to this interview of SIGTARP (and Obama ’08 supporter) Neil Barofsky by Jake Tapper (via Hot Air). Barofsky engaged in a strong pushback to the White House / Treasury Department’s attempt to contradict his release of numbers indicating that the administration was planning to spend 23.7 trillion dollars to repair our financial system; the best quote from that was probably “Perhaps their criticism is that we dare to do math.” Barofsky was also very firm about the fact that he has no intention of going back on the administration’s own stated ideals of transparency. Listen to the whole thing, and contemplate that this all started with a 700 billion dollar bailout, with a review period in the middle. Funny how this balloons, huh? – And Barofsky doesn’t even think that there’s particular amounts of skullduggery going on.
Meanwhile, there’s the Walpin thing. It turns out (via the Sundries Shack) that Rep Doris Matsui (D-CA), whose district includes Sacramento, called up the administration to get stimulus money for the city. This was done at the end of March; and the reason that she intervened was because Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson was at the time under a dispute with IG Gerald Walpin about Johnson’s misappropriation of AmeriCorps funds for personal services. A timeline is necessary at this point: Continue reading Inspector General situation updates.
Once is happenstance.
Twice is coincidence.
Three times is enemy action.
– Ian Fleming, Goldfinger
Being an inquisitive sort, Dan Riehl went looking for other instances where the White House may have been interfering with the Inspectors General, and lo! – he found some. Two more, both of which are involved executive branch officials allegedly interfering with investigations and one of which involved a sudden Walpin-like abrupt termination.
The second example (Gerald Walpin being, of course, the first) was Neil Barofsky, TARP IG, and while it’s the less immediately worrisome of the two newly-publicized incidents it’s also the more sensitive. There aren’t many details on this available yet, but the dispute seems to be over how much oversight Treasury should have over the IGs assigned to monitor specific functions of the department – and how quickly and easily IGs should be given the documents that they need for their investigations. The answer should be ‘almost none’ and ‘as quickly and easily as can be arranged’… at least, that’s my opinion. More importantly, it’s also Senator Grassley’s. Barofsky apparently hasn’t lost his job over this, though. Yet. The third firing was of Judith Gwynn (often noted as Judith Gwynne, which should tell you how well regular journalism is covering this story), and it’s… very interesting, as well. She was an acting IG for the International Trade Commission (expect that to be brought up, usually with the table being pounded) who abruptly had her contract terminated right after Sen. Grassley”s letter inquiring about an alleged physical assault* on her by an ITC staffer (expect that to be ignored for as long as possible) went to the White House. Continue reading Did the White House interefere with more Inspectors General?