If This Is Political Courage, Then What Constitutes Cowardice?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on June 19, 2009

Newspeak lives, it would appear. If we have a media that is serious about its job, it will cover this story at length, and not just rely on the Washington Examiner to do all of the legwork. And if we have a Congress that is serious about doing its job, then it will initiate investigations.

Relatedly: Oh, snap.

In the event that the media and Congress ever do get serious about launching some investigations, they may want to use this article to help lay the groundwork for any gumshoe-related activities:

He was appointed with fanfare as the public watchdog over the government’s multi-billion dollar bailout of the nation’s financial system. But now Neil Barofsky is embroiled in a dispute with the Obama administration that delayed one recent inquiry and sparked questions about his ability to freely investigate.

The disagreement stems from a claim by the Treasury Department that Barofsky is not entirely independent of the agency he is assigned to examine ¿ a claim that has prompted a stern letter from a Republican senator warning that agency officials are encroaching on the integrity of an office created to protect taxpayers.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R- Iowa, sent the letter Wednesday to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner demanding information about a “dispute over certain Treasury documents” that he said were being “withheld” from Barofsky’s office on a “specious claim of attorney-client privilege.”

A White House spokesman declined to comment, referring questions to the Treasury Department. Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams said late Wednesday that the agency would read Grassley’s letter and respond to the senator before any public comment.

The dispute comes as Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is looking into the abrupt firings within the last week of two other inspectors general ¿ one of whom was fired by the White House and the other by the chair of the International Trade Commission.

Which Inspector-General is next on the White House hit list?

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