Oversight Group Opts Not to Investigate Fellow Watchdog’s Dispute With Treasury

By MichaelJames

Jun 19, 2009 7:13pm

ABC News' Matt Jaffe reports:

The Congressional Oversight Panel tonight said it would not launch an investigation into the dispute between the Treasury Department and bailout watchdog Neil Barofsky over Barofsky's independence.

"There can be no doubt that SIGTARP must be available to investigate freely and independently all aspects of Treasury's role in TARP, and I share your concerns about these troubling news reports," the panel's chair, Elizabeth Warren, said in a letter to Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, responding to his calls for an investigation.

But Warren said she had spoken earlier to Barofsky, who expressed confidence that the Justice Department, asked by Treasury to rule on the issue, will come down in favor of the watchdog's independence.

"He informed me that he is confident that the Department of Justice, which is considering the matter, will not endorse any incursion on his independence," Warren wrote. "In the meantime, he has complete confidence that Treasury is promptly and appropriately processing SIGTARP's requests."

"Please be assured that the Congressional Oversight Panel will be aggressive in ensuring that there is rigorous oversight of its programs," she concluded. "We stand ready to take any action needed to ensure SIGTARP's independence and effectiveness."

- Matt Jaffe

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