A watchdog seeking to provide oversight of trillions of dollars in coronavirus spending and other relief has blasted a new Justice Department memo while calling on Congress to clarify his oversight mandate.
Brian Miller, the Treasury Department’s special inspector general for pandemic recovery, said Friday that a decision this week by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) has “permanently reduced oversight” of specific relief programs implemented during the coronavirus pandemic.
Miller in his quarterly report to Congress warned his efforts have been limited after the OLC held that his oversight jurisdiction applies only to Treasury’s direct loans and the Federal Reserve’s lending programs, but not the Coronavirus Relief Fund, Payroll Support Program and Paycheck Protection Program.
The three programs were established by various acts of Congress last year to provide support to airline employees, states, cities and small businesses impacted by lockdown orders and safety restrictions amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Miller in his Friday report said that his office had “been met with resistance” for several months from the Treasury Department and the Treasury Inspector General over his oversight on the Coronavirus Relief Fund and the Payroll Support Program.
Miller, who was appointed by former President TrumpDonald TrumpWashington’s split with Turkey widens — but it is up to Turkey to heal the rift Tomorrow’s special election in Texas is the Democrats’ best House hope in 2021 Giuliani to Tucker Carlson: ‘No justification’ for FBI raid MORE, said his office had been tracking fraud and “double dipping” in relief programs, but that starting in the final months of the Trump administration a turf war among the various inspector generals has eroded his oversight.
The watchdog’s update was first reported by The New York Times. The Hill has reached out to the White House and the Treasury Department for comment on the report.
“All special inspectors general share concurrent jurisdiction with their counterparts and must partner with agency inspectors general to achieve their respective statutory oversight missions,” Miller wrote Friday. “There is nothing more frustrating to achieving these missions than turf battles.”
The pandemic recovery inspector general called on Congress to pass legislation to clarify his office’s “mandate to provide oversight of the Coronavirus Relief Fund, Payroll Support Program, and other pandemic-related programs managed by the Secretary of the Treasury.”
Miller later in the report referenced his testimony during his confirmation hearing last year before the Senate, when he “promised to be thorough and truthful in alerting Congress ‘if we find out that things are not working well in a particular area.’”
“One year later, SIGPR’s jurisdiction has come to be viewed narrowly, not expansively, and my only conclusion is that ‘things are not working…
Go to the news source: Pandemic inspector general blasts DOJ memo, urges Congress to clarify mandate