ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:
Republicans have been hammering President Obama over his handling of a few episodes involving inspector generals, as our colleague Jake Tapper has covered extensively on his blog. On ABCNews.com's "Top Line" today, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, who serves on the TARP's Congressional Oversight Panel, told us that the Obama administration appears to undermining the independence of the TARP's special inspector general. "What it appears to be happening is that the Treasury is asserting an attorney/client privilege with respect to the inspector general and essentially withholding information and documents from an office that is supposed to be totally independent on a program that was an emergency program, $700 billion dollars which I fear has become a 700 billon dollar revolving bailout fund that's hurting our economy, hurting job creating, punishing taxpayers," said Hensarling, the ranking Republican member on the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit."And so the Inspector General I believe has asked for a little bit more time to work this out. I'm happy to respect that for a short period of time but ultimately, we must have totally independent inspector generals, and we must have total transparency with respect to Treasury — in a program that started out about financial stability but now is more about promoting the economic, social, political interests of the administration. And so I think it calls for the utmost in transparency and accountability."ABC's Matthew Jaffe has more on this dust-up HERE. Watch the full interview with Rep. Jeb Hensarling HERE.
Also today, we chatted with GOP strategist Kevin Madden about the latest polls and Gov. Mark Sanford's, R-S.C., odd disappearance. Sanford's team "made every single classic mistake you make in crisis communications — dueling messages, a dismissal, almost, of the public's right to know, the fact that they were giving out information piecemeal," Madden told us. "The troubling part is that this is now a significant part of his bio."Watch the full interview with Kevin Madden HERE.