President Barack Obama today signed into law a bill introduced and championed by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that will significantly strengthen oversight of the $700 billion financial rescue plan. The new law increases the power and authority of the Special Inspector General (IG), a position created to oversee the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) funds that passed last October.
The new law:
- Makes clear the Special IG has authority over ALL actions taken under the relief plan.
- Gives the IG the authority to hire auditors quickly by granting him temporary hiring authority.
- Requires the Treasury Secretary to explain to Congress why any IG recommendations are not implemented.
- Requires that the IG issue a report in September of 2009 to Congress analyzing how the program's funds have been spent to date. The report will also be made public and posted on the Internet within 24 hours of its release.
- Makes the funds for the Office of the Special Inspector General available immediately to allow the IG to set up his office.
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