Uncle Toobz? Are You Obstructing Oversight of TARP?

POGO notes something I hadn’t seen reported elsewhere–the last paragraph of a Chris Dodd statement regarding the selection of Neil Barofsky as Inspector General for the TARP bailout funds.

Unfortunately, the confirmation has been delayed by at least one Senator. That delay is regrettable and not in the best interest of American taxpayers.  It is my sincere hope that those who are blocking this nomination will reconsider their actions and confirm Mr. Barofsky at the earliest opportunity.

I posit Ted Stevens as one potential source of the hold only because he has been known to put holds on finance oversight in the past. Plus, he’s probably been in an ornery mood of late.

But there are plenty of other Republicans who like to obstruct good legislation. There’s John Kyl’s hold on FOIA reforms.  John Ensign’s hold on electronic filing of Senate disclosure forms. And there’s Tom Coburn’s hold on just about everything–though to be fair to Coburn, his MO is usually to obstruct things he finds culturally offensive, not matters pertaining to oversight.

Still, someone’s out there making sure that no one is watching over our $700 billion dollars. 

Now why would some corporate shill want to do that?

67 replies
  1. CTuttle says:

    Plus, he’s probably been in an ornery mood of late.

    I always enjoy your understated views…! Your hubby’s dry wit must be rubbing off…!

  2. MadDog says:

    I’m wondering if this pissing contest also had something to do with it:

    The length and form of the confirmation process remains unclear. The Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Treasury Department and a chairman who pushed for the creation of the special inspector general position, has scheduled a hearing for Monday afternoon to question Barofsky. But the Banking Committee, which has held multiple hearings on the bailout legislation, said last night that it will hold a similar one on Wednesday. In addition, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has the right to hold a hearing on inspectors general, or else 20 days must pass before the nomination proceeds to the full Senate.

  3. MadDog says:

    And it might be this Repug congresscritter:

    The radical shift in the focus of the $700 billion economic bailout package led one senator Wednesday to question what the young prosecutor tapped to be the program’s inspector general will be investigating.

    “I wonder why taxpayers should pay $50 million to a watchdog who has nothing to watch,” said Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky

    (My Bold)

  4. BooRadley says:

    IIRC, Harry told Feingold he wouldn’t “consider” a hold from Russ on the FISA legislation. FU Harry.

    • Neil says:

      Regarding this on the thread, summers-for-fed-chair-even-stupider-than-treasury.

      I’m convinced.

      Krugman, November 20, 2008, 7:04 pm

      California energy memories

      An interesting twist in the Treasury Secretary story: people are bringing up the fact, which I’d forgotten, that Larry Summers assured Gray Davis, late in December 2000, that market manipulation was not an important factor in the California energy crisis.

      In fairness to Larry, this was very early on, and the famous Enron tapes didn’t surface until years later. On the other hand, by early December 2000 I was already writing columns suggesting, based on economic logic and circumstantial evidence, that market manipulation was indeed a major factor in the power crisis. Why wasn’t Larry paying attention to the same evidence? (Actually, diagnosing market manipulation in electricity was one of the best defying-the-mainstream calls I’ve made in my time at the Times, right up there with getting it right on the housing bubble and the dishonest case for war.)

      Thought I’d save you the trouble of checking back.

      • plunger says:

        The Enron caper was the precursor to enable the Bush/Cheney installation at the apparent seat of power, all planned years in advance by Law and GHW Bush. Poppy Bush is the most evil of actors, a “direct report” to Rockefeller.


        Bush 41 and Ken lay conspired to create a pretext for the Republican Party to recapture the White House AND THEREAFTER – A SECONDARY PRETEXT TO JUSTIFY THE invasion of Iraq and Iran in order to acquire their oil. Their ISRAELI PARTNERS IN CRIME were hell bent on EXPANDING THE REALM OF ISRAEL TO INCLUDE ALL OF “ERETZ ISRAEL” – which conveniently overlapped the OIL MONGER’s strategy. Getting the American Public behind such an invasion was just one part of the essential pretext to justify an invasion. An oil shortage in the US was a REQUIREMENT – and Mr. Lay’s electronic oil trading platform was more than capable of creating a distribution log-jam in DEMOCRATIC California sufficient to sway voters to elect OIL EXPERTS to the White House. The plan was ALWAYS to have Dick Cheney be on that ticket.

        Wouldn’t if be nice to learn the details of how Lay and Cheney were divvying up the oil fields in Iraq on a big map, even before 9/11? Poppy Bush gets the poppy fields of Afghanistan. Result – record opium production. Wouldn’t it be enlightening to hear that Lay knew for a fact that 9/11 was going to happen as the pretext for the war plan which he clearly had knowledge of prior to 9/11?

        Why would you sit around countless energy planning meetings dividing up the oil fields of Iraq in advance of 9/11 unless there were a plan in place to make it possible? Such a plan would by necessity be a war plan, and this war plan was actually in place prior to 9/11. Do you think it was just a coincidence that the troops were staged to invade Afghanistan prior to 9/11? Do you think it was just a coincidence that FEMA was set up in midtown Manhattan on the morning of 9/11 prior to the actual attack, to drill for the unlikely event of terrorists flying planes into buildings?

        COME ON!

        Surely any good war plan requires at its core a starting point, a trigger if you will that provides a good “cover story” to implement it. Clearly you can’t just go around invading countries without a good reason…you need to be attacked first, then retaliate.

        Was 9/11 simply part of the war plan? Why wouldn’t it have been? You can’t hit the “GO” button without a pretext. 9/11 was the pretext for the invasion of the Middle East – all by design. 9/11 – THE TERROR PRETEXT.

        And now we are in the midst of their previously planned “Financial 9/11″ – and no one is calling it what it is…terrorism…from within.

        Where is Terrorist Rumsfeld?
        Where is Terrorist Feith?
        Where is Terrorist Zakheim?
        Where is Terrorist Libby?
        Where is Terrorist Alexander?
        Where is Terrorist Cheney?
        Where is Terrorist Rove?
        Where is Terrorist Greenspan?


        Call them what they are. Expose their crimes.

    • nihil says:

      No,exactly right, Harry. The Democrats have important legiwslation to pass, now and in the 111th. The “hold” is qa piece of senatorial courtesy very much like the black list in a gentlemans’ private club. It has no place in a democratic, egalitarian legislative body. The same goes for the rule of 60. The House has no problem cutting off debate, but the “rights of a minority” to stop legislation smack of the dead States’ Rights doctrine. Filibusters stopped justice in its tracks for 25 years. I say ignore holds and adopt the “nuclear option” and let us get some work done. Since things that go around have a habit of coming around, progressives, who are usually in the minority, have to be prepared for what happens when moderates shift to the right. We have a very small window for progress. We had better seize the opportunity while we have it, before we sink back into the slime of a Republican majority.

  5. acquarius74 says:

    O/T over at Oxdown, cb12 has a diary for us to send our good thoughts to Katymine. Katy has a comment there that she is going home from hospital tomorrow and is very touched by our good wishes. How about leaving her some love thoughts?

  6. MadDog says:

    Totally OT, btw EW, I was wondering if anyone of ya’ll here at The Lake had read this putrid NYT Opinion homily to Obama on Iraq by the ever infamous Ahmad Chalabi: Thanks, but You Can Go Now ?

    As a matter of fact, I’m surprised one or more of the Front Pagers hasn’t already roasted this turd and his unbelievable chutzpah.

    I bet Wolfie and Dougie Feith had heartburn and the Hershey squirts all weekend long.

    • CTuttle says:

      Dayam, Chalabi flails about all over the spectrum… Praising Shrub and in the next breath condemning him… He wants us out, but, turns around and says we need to ensure their security… WTF?

    • SouthernDragon says:

      Whoa, I hadn’t seen that either. I think perhaps we should ask Mohammed ibn Laith to respond to Mr Chalabi.

  7. wesgpc says:

    Senatorial protocol and courtesies have gotten out of hand.
    Just wait until I run that joint. These secret indefinite holds will only be honored in specific circumstances (say, for an appointment that directly affects state represented by a Senator, like a US Attorney). Otherwise, they will be honored for a limited amount of time (to avoid rush jobs) and no anonymity.

    And, if you want to filibuster -you better coffee-up and no complaining about the cots in the cloakroom. If you are a picky sleeper, BOYB (Bring Your Own Bedding).

  8. wesgpc says:

    And exercise every morning around the Rotunda. I read someplace that in Sparta, the youngins had to run naked at dawn with wheat sacks over their shoulders. I think I will start that up again for the Senate when I take over. Excuse notes from he docters notes WILL be verified.

  9. SouthernDragon says:

    As the political scientist Michael Wolfe puts it, “Conservatives cannot govern well for the same reason that vegetarians cannot prepare a world-class boeuf bourguignon: If you believe that what you are called upon to do is wrong, you are unlikely to do it very well.” He adds, “As a way of governing, conservatism is another name for disaster.”

    Naoimi Klein, The Shock Doctrine, Chap 17, Ideological Blowback, A Very Capitalist Disaster

    • eCAHNomics says:

      There’s also the issue of deliberately “governing” badly to demonstrate to voters that govt doesn’t work.

      But of course, there’s that sticky problem that the Rs run into: govt may not work, but clearly “private” system does even worse in cases where govt has a comparative advantage, such as disaster rescue & recovery. Tsk tsk tsk.

      • Phoenix Woman says:

        Yup. Government also does better at old-age insurance — or at least has fewer overhead costs (less than 1% for Social Security versus 14% to 17% for privatized plans in places like the UK and Chile). One reason for this is that our fund managers’ salaries top out at under $200,000 in most cases, as opposed to the hundreds of millions (if not billions) per year brought home by some hedge-fund managers.

      • DrDick says:

        Given the examples of Wall Street and Detroit, it is rather obvious that the government does lots of things better than the private sector.

    • Phoenix Woman says:

      Yes. Furthermore, since they believe their own propaganda about how evil and wrong government is, they see it as their right — nay, their duty — to undermine it through corruption, or “bleeding the beast”.

  10. DrDick says:

    Republicans don’t do oversight (unless a Dem is Pres). It undermines and degrades the majesty of the office of the Commander-in-Chief.

      • skdadl says:

        Oh, gosh, I hope not. A few days ago, I watched a vid of a speech given by that nice young man who wrote The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright (actually, I think he’s almost my age, but he looks a lot better), and I pricked up my ears when he talked for a bit about Yemen, which he seems to think has come a long way in the human-rights department. Hard for me to judge, but I hope he’s right.

        I thought we were all wondering whether the U.S. would insist on keeping Hamdan and others even after they’d served whatever time they were sentenced to, especially if, as in his case, the sentences were short, so I was kind of heartened by this news.

          • plunger says:

            Dead men don’t reveal the identities of their “handlers,” or their nation of origin.

            Obama will NEVER be allowed to bring Guantanamo prisoners to the US mainland for trial, or allow them to get anywhere near the media, or write a tell-all book – EVER.

            None of us could handle learning who their actual employer was.

            Start with this…there is no “Al Qaeda.”

            • Sara says:

              “Obama will NEVER be allowed to bring Guantanamo prisoners to the US mainland for trial, or allow them to get anywhere near the media, or write a tell-all book – EVER.”

              I saw a reference the other day to my, hopefully sane solution, to the matter of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, take him to the Southern District of New York, and try him for the 1996 indictment on the Bojinka Plot. Pat Fitzgerald got the indictment, so maybe they will let him try the case, as he got convictions in the cases of the co-plotters. None of the evidence in that case would be tainted by CIA Torture. Virtually all of his role in the case was introduced as sworn testimony in the earlier trials, so it should be relatively simple to send him to Florence Colorado for life.

  11. SadButTrue says:

    So why haven’t they expelled Stevens from the Senate? Because he lost the election? If he’d won they’d be voting for expulsion so I just can’t see how the Alaskan people’s desire to get rid of him somehow keeps him in office. Out of sympathy I guess, or it could be that every one of the influence peddling bastards can see themselves in Stevens’ place. Why should a convicted felon disgrace the upper legislative body for even one day?

    • bmaz says:

      In the first place, Stevens’ conviction isn’t worth the hot air to talk about it. It should, and likely will, be reversed on appeal. In the second place, the “conviction” isn’t even official or formal yet because he has not been sentenced, and won’t be sentenced until the end of February 2009.

      The trial against Stevens was nothing but one giant Unconstitutional due process violation, it was literally pitiful. Every citizen is guaranteed a fair trial and due process, even Stevens. What occurred in that trial wasn’t even close.

      • bobschacht says:

        Are you saying that (a) Stevens didn’t really do anything illegal, or (b) Stevens did something illegal but the prosecution botched the trial, or (c) he did something illegal but he was charged under the wrong statutes?

        And why on earth would a Republican administration indict a Republican senator if he hadn’t done something wrong?

        Please explain.

        Bob in HI

        • bmaz says:

          I am not sure if he did anything illegal or not; he most likely did. However, he is entitled to fundamental due process and fairness in the prosecution and trial before he is deemed convicted of anything. He has not received that. Who knows why the Bush DOJ does anything, but that is not the poing nor is it a viable criteria for assessing a man’s guilt or innocence.

          • BoxTurtle says:

            Agreed. The prosecution (intentionally?) buggered the trial up thoroughly. I think the appeals court will look at the trial record and decide the remedies the Judge applied were insufficient and decalre a mistrial.

            But despite all the errors, the jury STILL convicted. So if I were Stevens, I might well take a plea before the retrial. As long as there was no jail time, I’d pay the fine and go enjoy my new deck. And think about how much I’d gotten away with.

            Boxturtle (Hates to see anyone railroaded, even Toobz)

  12. rosalind says:

    ot: bush regime comes up with yet another way to screw over injured vets.

    In a little-noticed regulation change in March, the military’s definition of combat-related disabilities was narrowed, costing some injured veterans thousands of dollars in lost benefits — and triggering outrage from veterans’ advocacy groups.

    Meshell, who is appealing her status, estimates she is losing at least $1,200 a month in benefits. Despite being injured in a combat zone during an enemy mortar attack, she said, her wounds would be considered combat-related only if she had been struck by shrapnel.

  13. JoeBuck says:

    A hold is just an announcement that the Senator intends to filibuster. Reid has already shown that he will ignore holds issued by Democrats. The Senate should just proceed to a vote and force the obstructor to show his or her hand.

  14. joejoejoe says:

    Anonymous holds need to go.

    E-Dub, you should get Norm Ornstein to come on your blog for a Q&A on what can be done to fix the culture of the US Senate. Harry Reid moves as decisively as Matt Millen so I don’t expect changes to take place in, oh, my lifetime, but maybe by the 23rd century or something the US Senate will be something to be proud of instead the place where they give bipartisan standing ovations to convicted felons.

    Perhaps a non-binding Senate resolution to suck less in the 111th Congress is in order!

  15. plunger says:

    The individuals that the media refer to as “Fed Chairman” and “Treasury Secretary” don’t work for the citizens of the United States. Isn’t at least that much obvious by now? When you see blatant criminality right before your eyes, why infer best intentions? Why not assume worst intentions…CRIMINAL INTENTIONS?

    These individuals work for the banking cabal inside our government…specifically, they report to David Rockefeller through Tim Geithner. That’s right, the next fox that’s been hired to “guard” the totally looted hen house is the facilitator of the theft. The IMF, World Bank, CFR et al is all part of the same criminal enterprise. Greenspan clearly worked for all of them, and singlehandedly ensured all that has flowed directly from policies known to result in the total destruction of the global financial system. Many saw it all coming as early as 2003, and warned as vociferously as we could, all that would follow. THIS WAS DONE TO US ON PURPOSE – planned well prior to 9/11.

    It wasn’t enough for the banksters to ensure the looting of the companies run by their surrogates and profit via the takedown of others (Bears Stearns & Leahman to name two) with the help of mssrs Geithner and Goldman, er, I mean Paulson. Now that they’ve literally stolen all of the money from these financial institutions and made billions shorting them in the market, they have convinced you that you have no choice but to let them steal more of YOUR MONEY for the apparent purpose of reliquifying these already failed companies. They all positioned themselves to make even more billions in the market when they announced Geithners appointment and sent the financial markets soaring. “Insider Trading” is not illegal when you are the masters of the universe.

    They are simply pocketing ALL the money, and they can’t even believe that you’re letting them get away with it.

    Between now and the inauguration, these criminals, with the help of the President, Bernanke, Paulson and their surrogates in the House and Senate will steal TRILLIONS from US taxpayers, created digitally from thin air – for their own personal enrichment and power consolidation – leaving Obama, you and me with literally no means with which to exist as a country. Obama knows they are doing it. He’s clearly been briefed. Who were his largest financial backers again? How long has this all been planned?

    It’s time to study what these same banksters did to Argentina, because they are in the midst of doing it to us. Every Congressman, Senator and News Talker is clearly in on it, because no one is lifting a finger or raising a voice loudly enough to expose the criminal enterprise for what it is.

    “Most people prefer to believe that their leaders are just and fair, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which he lives is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one’s self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all.”

    Michael Rivera

  16. wavpeac says:

    Until and unless this country finally realizes and stops illegal behavior in the banking industry it will continue and destroy us. The entire financial fabric of the world is being shredded while the rich get filthy rich.

    Until we finally hear the word fraud…being applied to these and other banks, we are not facing the truth. And we cannot change what we don’t accept.

    Either O is very naive or he doesn’t want to face the truth. (or he can’t).

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