Democrats say Trump pick for coronavirus recovery watchdog is not independent enough
WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump’s elect when it comes to the new watchdog checking $2.thee trillion in coronavirus-related fiscal enjoying is not just impartial enough to finish the work, congressional Democrats said on Saturday.
The White House said delayed on Friday Trump would likely charges Brian Miller, a special assistant to the president of the united states and senior associate opinion in the Office of White House Counsel, with the role of special inspector usual for pandemic restoration.
“The Inspector General providing oversight of the federal response of this historic relief package for workers and families must be independent from politics,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reflected in her own testimony. “The President’s nomination of one of his own lawyers clearly fails that test.
Senate Democrats, including Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and the top Democratic senator on the Senate Finance Committee, also criticized the move.
Democratic U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said in a post on Twitter that the appointment was akin to putting a “fox accountable for the henhouse.”
The new watchdog position, which comes with a $25 million budget, was created to “conduct, monitor, and co-ordinate analysis and detective along the generating, buying, regulation, and promotion of financing, car loan guarantee, as well as other capital” by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
If approved by the Senate, Miller would also serve on the council of inspectors general from other agencies tasked with being an uber-watchdog group with broad oversight.
Pelosi has also said she would form a bipartisan select committee on the coronavirus crisis to oversee the use of the $2.3 trillion approved by Congress to respond to the pandemic.
Before joining the White House legal team in Dec. 2018, Miller served as inspector general for the General Services Administration for nearly a decade, which performs much of the administrative work for the federal government.
He also worked in the Justice Department as special counsel on healthcare fraud.
The executive director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, an advocacy group for ethics, Noah Bookbinder, blasted the White House’s move late on Friday.
The new role is “a necessary managing put that should be going to nonpartisan skilled, no more jingoist,” Bookbinder wrote in a post on Twitter.
The White House announced Trump had selected Miller for the role on the same night that he fired the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community, Michael Atkinson.
Atkinson played a role in triggering the impeachment of the president. He determined that a whistleblower’s report was credible when it had alleged Trump abused his office to attempt to solicit Ukraine’s interference in the 2020 election for Trump’s political benefit.