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February 21, 2009

The RAT Board

Posted by Dave Blount at February 21, 2009 8:55 AM

There was more to the atrocious "stimulus" package than hundreds of $billions of frivolous pork barrel spending that will leave generations of Americans in debt. It also advanced the liberal goals of putting the healthcare industry under direct federal control, and secretively repealing welfare reform so as to breed future generations of state-dependent Democrat voters. Better still for an administration that crawled out of the sewers of Chicago politics, it gives the White House tremendous leverage to squash corruption investigations. A furtive provision in the 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." If the inspector general doesn't want to follow the wishes of the RAT Board, he'll have to write a report explaining his decision to the board, as well as to the head of his agency (from whom he is supposedly independent) and to Congress. In the end, a determined inspector general can probably get his way, but only after jumping through bureaucratic hoops that will inevitably make him hesitate to go forward.
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.

Grassley was a member of the House-Senate conference committee. Yet he only learned of the RAT provision buried deep in the 1,073 pages of wasteful spending when he was tipped off by a worried inspector general. According to a Democrat Senator, RAT was "something the Obama administration wanted included in this bill."

When he learned about RAT, Grassley wanted to voice his objections before the Senate. But there was no time; they had to hurry up and vote so that Nazi Pelousy could jet off to Europe — and so that no one would have time to read the bill.

This is what the Moonbat Messiah calls "transparency." Here he is explaining how it will be a "touchstone" of his regime:

On tips from The MaryHunter and Reuben C.