Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says 'we very much support oversight' one day after Trump fired the stimulus watchdog
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin went on CNBC Wednesday morning to assure markets that the federal government's stimulus package is being rolled out smoothly amid the economic distress caused by measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
One of the sticking points of the most recent package was over putting a watchdog in place to make sure companies are above board in their use of taxpayer money.
Yet on Tuesday, President Donald Trump abruptly ousted Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general at the Department of Defense picked by a panel of fellow IGs to oversee the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which acts as the taxpayers' watchdog for the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package Trump signed into law on March 27.
Mnuchin said Trump's pick to replace Fine, Sean O'Donnell, the inspector general for the Environmental Protection Agency, "has a lot of experience, and I look forward to working with him."
"I think, as you know, we very much support proper oversight," Mnuchin said.
A day after President Trump raised eyebrows by abruptly firing the watchdog in charge of overseeing the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tried to reassure markets that there will still be strong oversight of the taxpayer funds.
In his CNBC appearance, Mnuchin primary addressed concerns over how Americans will get their stimulus checks and how businesses without good banking relationships will benefit from the package.
Later in the interview, he was asked about Trump firing the IG, and Mnuchin insisted that there's nothing amiss.
"Well I think the president thought the appropriate oversight was very important, and that's why he wanted to move forward quickly and nominate someone for this position. I think, you know, this is a new Inspector General that was set up under the CARES Act, it's someone who has a lot of experience, and I look forward to working with him," Mnuchin said of O'Donnell, who has a master's in economics and will continue overseeing the EPA until a Pentagon replacement is confirmed.
"I think, as you know, we very much support proper oversight," Mnuchin continued. "There's also going to be a congressional oversight committee. We have enhanced disclosure.
"So I think the American public deserves to know what's going on given the amount of money that we'll be putting out."
On Tuesday, Inside Defense reported that Trump was replacing Glenn Fine — the acting inspector general at the Department of Defense picked by a panel of fellow IGs to oversee the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee in charge of overseeing the $2 trillion package — with his own pick, Sean O'Donnell, the inspector general for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Trump kept complaining about inspectors general in the buildup to the firing.
Just days earlier, the president sacked the intelligence community IG who told Congress about the Ukraine whistleblower complaint that ultimately led to Trump being impeached.
Trump has described the firings as cleaning house from Obama-era appointees, though Fine was appointed by then-President Bill Clinton and Michael Atkinson, the now former intelligence community IG, was appointed by Trump.
There were already concerns among many lawmakers over wealthy businesses enriching themselves via the stimulus spending, recalling a watchdog being retroactively deployed during the Great Recession amid stock buybacks and other maneuvers that enraged Americans feeling shortchanged by how their taxes were being spent.
Read the original article on Business Insider