Yet Another Inspector General Bites the Dust

Glenn Fine in a 2007 file photo.Mark Murrmann/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

Large corporations were the recipients of $500 billion in the coronavirus rescue bill. However, only about $50 billion of this is for actual loans. The other $450 billion comes in the form of loan guarantees: that is, it’s a capital cushion earmarked to pay for potential losses in lending facilities from the Fed. Roughly speaking, then, the bill really authorizes about $4.5 trillion in loans under the assumption that $450 billion represents the maximum loss the Fed is likely to suffer.

By any measure, $4.5 trillion is a whole lot of money, and it was the last sticking point in the rescue bill. Initially Trump said that he himself would provide all the oversight that was needed, but unsurprisingly that didn’t go down well with Democrats. The bill was passed only after Donald Trump finally agreed to appoint a special inspector in the Treasury Department to provide oversight. But as soon as the ink was dry, he appointed Brian Miller, a White House lawyer, for the job. This was not an auspicious start.

Now there’s more:

President Donald Trump has upended the panel of federal watchdogs overseeing implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus law, tapping a replacement for the Pentagon official who was supposed to lead the effort. A panel of inspectors general had named Glenn Fine — the acting Pentagon watchdog — to lead the group charged with monitoring the coronavirus relief effort. But Trump on Monday removed Fine from his post, instead naming the EPA inspector general to serve as the temporary Pentagon watchdog in addition to his other responsibilities.

At least we still have the House oversight committee, formed by Nancy Pelosi and headed by Jim Clyburn. Unless, of course, Trump simply refuses to allow anyone in his admistration to respond to its subpoenas. But he wouldn’t do that, would he?

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.