Just when you think you could not be any more shocked by the things that got secretly stuck in the stimulus bill, Senator Charles Grassley finds a RAT has been "snuck" into the bill. RAT is an acronym for Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. A provision of the bill creates this board which will have almost total control over Inspector Generals. This board will have the power to force investigations or halt investigations they do not like. The Chairman of the board will be appointed by(drum roll) President Barack Obama. The owner of this provision has not been identified, but the rumor is it was put in at the request of the White House.
The RAT hiding deep inside the stimulus bill
By Byron York
Chief political correspondent 2/19/09
The far-reaching — and potentially dangerous — provision that no one knows about.
You’ve heard a lot about the astonishing spending in the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, signed into law this week by President Barack Obama. But you probably haven’t heard about a provision in the bill that threatens to politicize the way allegations of fraud and corruption are investigated — or not investigated — throughout the federal government.
The provision, which attracted virtually no attention in the debate over the 1,073-page stimulus bill, creates something called the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board — the RAT Board, as it’s known by the few insiders who are aware of it. The board would oversee the in-house watchdogs, known as inspectors general, whose job is to independently investigate allegations of wrongdoing at various federal agencies, without fear of interference by political appointees or the White House.
In the name of accountability and transparency, Congress has given the RAT Board the authority to ask “that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation.”
When Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, a longtime champion of inspectors general, read the words “conduct or refrain from conducting,” alarm bells went off. The language means that the board — whose chairman will be appointed by the president — can reach deep inside a federal agency and tell an inspector general to lay off some particularly sensitive subject. Or, conversely, it can tell the inspector general to go after a tempting political target.(excerpt) read more at dcexaminer.com
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