Trump Undermines Transparency and Oversight in Coronavirus Relief Bill

Democrats in Congress fought to ensure the coronavirus relief bill passed last week put workers and families first, not corporations, by demanding strict oversight, transparency, and accountability of all corporate loans to ensure money was distributed fairly and wisely. Trump immediately undermined this provision with a signing statement that asserted his administration would not comply with it.

Trump said he would not comply with oversight and transparency safeguards in the coronavirus relief bill that required a special inspector general report to Congress any executive interference with audits of loans and investments.

New York Times: “When President Trump signed the $2 trillion economic stabilization package on Friday to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, he undercut a crucial safeguard that Democrats insisted upon as a condition of agreeing to include a $500 billion corporate bailout fund. In a signing statement released hours after Mr. Trump signed the bill in a televised ceremony in the Oval Office, the president suggested he had the power to decide what information a newly created inspector general intended to monitor the fund could share with Congress.”

TRUMP: “I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the SIGPR to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required by the Take Care Clause, Article II, section 3.”

But before the package passed, Larry Kudlow had repeatedly promised the fund would be “completely transparent” and overseen by an oversight board and inspector general.

KUDLOW: “That fund, by the way, will be overseen by an oversight board and an inspector general. It will be completely transparent.”

KUDLOW: “It will all be done transparently. No question about that.”

KUDLOW: “There is transparency, there is oversight, always.”

KUDLOW: “The key point is this is a transparent program.”

But Trump himself made his intentions for oversight of the aid money well known before the bill passed.

TRUMP: “Look, I’ll be the oversight.  I’ll be the oversight. We’re going to make good deals.  We make good deals. But these companies need it.”