Trump administration's 'serial IG purges' fuel calls for anti-corruption provisions in next COVID-19 package
Sen. Richard Blumenthal pointed on Sunday to President Donald Trump's intention to oust another inspector general—this time of a Department of Health and Human Services watchdog—to bolster his call for the next coronavirus legislative relief package to include measures to "forestall fraud and favoritism."
Trump’s serial IG purges must be stopped as part of a broad oversight package in COVID 4 legislation. @SenWarren &… https://t.co/ObNDZt4ncq— Richard Blumenthal (@Richard Blumenthal) 1588519061.0
Blumenthal (D-Conn.), along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Reps. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), unveiled the details of their proposal to congressional leadership on Friday, urging them to "include strong oversight, accountability, and anti-corruption provisions in any upcoming legislation to provide economic aid, relief, recovery, or stimulus in response to COVID-19 in order to safeguard taxpayer funds and to bolster Americans' faith in government to respond to this crisis."
Blumenthal also gave a rundown of the provisions Saturday on Twitter:
2. Time & again Trump has made clear he will go after any IG who threatens oversight of his power & policies. We mu… https://t.co/C8cHisoqsG— Richard Blumenthal (@Richard Blumenthal) 1588432053.0
4. No transparency, no paycheck. If the admin stonewalls oversight of how the American people’s hard-earned tax dol… https://t.co/7DloE3yutE— Richard Blumenthal (@Richard Blumenthal) 1588432054.0
6. Crony capitalism has no place in the United States. Businesses who receive taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be allowed… https://t.co/K79rRycu5T— Richard Blumenthal (@Richard Blumenthal) 1588432055.0
7. Sunlight is always the best disinfectant—& w/this admin we need a lot of it. There must be expanded transparency… https://t.co/UByTUE7wmc— Richard Blumenthal (@Richard Blumenthal) 1588432055.0
"President Donald Trump has made clear that he is putting himself and his buddies first during this global pandemic—and he will actively undermine independent oversight," Warren said in a statement Friday.
"The next relief package must include our provisions to empower inspectors general, prohibit conflicts of interest, and strengthen oversight and enforcement, and to stop any government-sanctioned profiteering and corruption," said Warren. "The American people need to trust their government is on their side, especially now."
Jayapal echoed those concerns, calling for "aggressive oversight measures in future relief packages to ensure economic aid is delivered to struggling families and businesses in need, keep this president accountable, and prevent him and his administration from misusing and misallocating taxpayer dollars."
The Democrats' call drew praise from government watchdog group Project on Government Oversight (POGO).
"These proposals demonstrate a strong commitment to real oversight and anti-corruption," the group said Friday.
"While the problems these reforms aim to address have been around for decades," POGO added, "they're under the spotlight as we contend with Covid-19."