Bedeviled President Donald Trump sent shock waves across the nation’s capital once again today. As the president did a little spring cleaning by tapping a replacement for the Pentagon official assigned to lead oversight of a $2 trillion economic relief package.
A spokeswoman for the Pentagon inspector general’s office Dwrena Allen stated, “Mr. Fine is no longer on the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.” And told Fine will return to his Senate-confirmed post as principal deputy inspector general of the Pentagon.
Department of Justice IG Michael Horowitz hit back looking to set the record straight. The IG who leads a council of inspectors general announced, “The Inspector General Community will continue to conduct aggressive, independent oversight of the agencies that we oversee.”
While Senate Finance Committee chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) expressed, “I encourage Pres Trump 2view IGs as helpers 2hold bureaucracy accountable+draining swamp.” He continued, We all work to solve problems Esp in unprecedented pandemic, IG reports shld be viewed as a TO DO list & not criticism. Admin is quickly fixing problems that existed going back to Obama/Bush.”
I encourage Pres Trump 2view IGs as helpers 2hold bureaucracy accountable+draining swamp. We all work to solve problems Esp in unprecedented pandemic, IG reports shld be viewed as a TO DO list & not criticism. Admin is quickly fixing problems that existed going back to Obama/Bush
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) April 7, 2020
On the flip side a different story. “President Trump is abusing the coronavirus pandemic to eliminate honest and independent public servants because they are willing to speak truth to power and because he is so clearly afraid of strong oversight,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement Tuesday. “President Trump’s corrupt action to sideline Acting Inspector General Glenn Fine, who was newly-appointed as chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, only strengthens Democrats’ resolve to hold the administration accountable and enforce the multiple strict oversight provisions of the CARES Act,” he concluded.
Speaker of the House and sworn rival Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) shared, “The sudden removal and replacement of Acting Inspector General Fine is part of a disturbing pattern of retaliation by the president against independent overseers fulfilling their statutory and patriotic duties to conduct oversight on behalf of the American people.”
Then Congress got served notice Tuesday that Trump had designated Sean O’Donnell, inspector general of the Environmental Protection Agency, to take over the Pentagon watchdog’s office in addition to his current post.
“Yesterday, the President nominated Mr. Jason Abend for the position of DoD Inspector General,” Allen added. “The same day, the President also designated Mr. Sean W. O’Donnell, who is the Environmental Protection Agency Inspector General (EPA IG), to serve as the Acting DoD IG in addition to his current duties at the EPA.”
“It is going to affect, probably adversely, the IG function of EPA,” argued Stan Meiburg, 40-year regional EPA chief and member of the Environmental Protection Network. “DOD is a monster organization and will overwhelm the demands on an EPA IG. How anyone could do both jobs escapes me.”
A lot apparently is taking place behind the scenes. What is the ultimate goal?