Senate GOPer Blocking Appointment Of Key Bailout Overseer: We Need Your Help!

December 1, 2008 10:20 a.m.

Last week we noticed that at least one unnamed Republican senator has put a hold on the nomination of Neil Barofsky as the Treasury’s Department’s special inspector general for the bailout.

This is a crucial post for ensuring that the department spends its $700 billion wisely and without favor — all the more so because Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and the man running the bailout, Neel Kashkari, are both former executives at Goldman Sachs, which has already received $10 billion from Treasury. And no one has seriously questioned Barofsky’s personal fitness for the job.

Senators have the right to anonymously put a hold on any nomination to a federal post for any reason whatsoever. But given what’s at stake here, it’s worth trying to find out who’s responsible for the hold, and why. We’ve put in a call to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell’s office. But we could use your help too.

So if you live in a state with at least one Republican senator, we’re asking you to call their office, tell them you’re a constituent, and politely ask whether they put a hold on Barofsky’s nomination, and if so, why. Then email us and let us know what you find out — even if it’s a ‘no’ or an inconclusive answer. If nothing else, your information can help us narrow down the list.

And in case it helps, here’s the statement put out by Sen. Chris Dodd, the chair of the banking committee, that first mentioned the hold.

One final point: in Friday’s post, we noted a jurisdictional dispute between the Senate banking and finance committees, mentioned in a Washington Post story before the hold was put on, as a possible explanation for the move. But a Hill staffer in a position to know tells us that the issue has been resolved. So you can scratch that idea.

We’ll be watching for your emails…

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