WASHINGTON – The Trump administration’s intensifying efforts to block oversight of its coronavirus-related bailout programs is raising new alarms with government watchdogs and lawmakers amid concerns about the anonymity of companies receiving unprecedented levels of taxpayer funds.
Government watchdogs warned members of Congress last week that previously unknown Trump administration legal decisions could substantially block their ability to oversee more than $1 trillion in spending related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a letter on Thursday to four congressional committee chairs, two officials in charge of a new government watchdog revealed that the Trump administration had issued legal rulings curtailing independent oversight of more than $1 trillion in Cares Act funding.
The letter surfaced amid growing bipartisan outrage over the administration’s decision not to disclose how it is spending hundreds in billions in aid for businesses. On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin appeared to bow to that pressure, saying he would work with Congress on new oversight measures. But some Democrats have said the White House isn’t taking disclosure requests seriously enough.