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“They All Blur Together”

The latest Robert Gibbs comedy gold from Jake Tapper:

TAPPER: This week two different independent nonpartisan government watchdogs have — the Government Accountability Office and the inspector general for TARP — have expressed serious concerns about the amount of — or the lack of oversight into how money is being spent, both stimulus and the toxic assets program, and also TARP and other programs. These are people who do this for a living.  They are — they are watchdogs, and they conduct oversight, and they’re saying you guys are not doing enough. And specifically the inspector general for TARP said that the Treasury Department has told them that they will not follow their previous recommendations to demand that the banks account for all the use of TARP funds, set up internal controls to comply with the accounting and report periodically to Treasury on the results with sworn certifications.  Why are you — what are you guys going to do to follow these recommendations to conduct as much oversight as they’re recommending?

GIBBS:  Well, let me — I’ll ask Treasury for something specific on — on what you mentioned based on what GAO has mentioned. The president — the president is concerned and wants to ensure accountability in the process.  I — I will — like I said, I’ll look for a specific answer to what you mentioned there. But I think based on the testimony of Secretary Geithner, there is an inclination among all in the administration to pursue greater transparency and greater accountability. I don’t know about that specifically, but I’ll certainly check.

Well, you say, that’s no answer. All Gibbs said was that the president is committed to accountability, but Tapper is asking why that accountability isn’t being implemented. So Tapper gamely tries again:

TAPPER:  The inspector general for TARP on Monday testified that — that Treasury has blown off their recommendations that the bank, that they…

GIBBS:  I think Secretary Geithner addressed some of that on — I don’t know, I forget whether he was up there Monday or Tuesday.  Like I said, they all blur together. I’ll find something specifically on that.

On the transparency and accountability front, we have so far perhaps the most under-achieving administration ever. The promise to have legislation on line for five days before a vote? Nope. A list of ethics waivers? Never provided. Oversight for trillions in spending? Not remotely.

And Congress, which is only too anxious to begin investigating the last administration, shows no interest in fulfilling its oversight role. So unlike the Bush administration, which after 2006 had to face aggressive Democratic-controlled committees and explain itself on everything from firing U.S. attorneys to the Walter Reed scandal, this administration is neither inclined to, nor forced to, explain much of anything. And with Gibbs at the podium no member of the media is going to get any intelligible answers either.



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