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OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS

 
You Thought Cheney Was Bad
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02/19/2009 12:31 PM
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OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
By Byron York
Chief political correspondent 2/19/09
The far-reaching -- and potentially dangerous -- provision that no one knows about.

You’ve heard a lot about the astonishing spending in the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, signed into law this week by President Barack Obama. But you probably haven’t heard about a provision in the bill that threatens to politicize the way allegations of fraud and corruption are investigated — or not investigated — throughout the federal government.

The provision, which attracted virtually no attention in the debate over the 1,073-page stimulus bill, creates something called the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board — the RAT Board, as it’s known by the few insiders who are aware of it. The board would oversee the in-house watchdogs, known as inspectors general, whose job is to independently investigate allegations of wrongdoing at various federal agencies, without fear of interference by political appointees or the White House.

In the name of accountability and transparency, Congress has given the RAT Board the authority to ask “that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation.” If the inspector general doesn’t want to follow the wishes of the RAT Board, he’ll have to write a report explaining his decision to the board, as well as to the head of his agency (from whom he is supposedly independent) and to Congress. In the end, a determined inspector general can probably get his way, but only after jumping through bureaucratic hoops that will inevitably make him hesitate to go forward.

When Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, a longtime champion of inspectors general, read the words “conduct or refrain from conducting,” alarm bells went off. The language means that the board — whose chairman will be appointed by the president — can reach deep inside a federal agency and tell an inspector general to lay off some particularly sensitive subject. Or, conversely, it can tell the inspector general to go after a tempting political target.

“This strikes at the heart of the independence of inspectors general,” Grassley told me this week, in a phone conversation between visits to town meetings in rural Iowa. “Anytime an inspector general has somebody questioning his authority, it tends to dampen the aggressiveness with which they pursue something, particularly if it’s going to make the incumbent administration look bad.”

I asked Grassley how he learned that the RAT Board was part of the stimulus bill. You’d think that as a member of the House-Senate conference committee, he would have known all about it. But it turns out Grassley’s office first heard about the provision creating the RAT Board last Wednesday, in a tip from a worried inspector general. It wasn’t until Friday morning — after the bill was finished and just hours before the Senate was to begin voting — that Grassley discovered the board was in the final text. “This was snuck in,” Grassley told me. “It wasn’t something that was debated.”

Snuck in by whom? It’s not entirely clear. “I intend to get down to the bottom of where this comes from,” Grassley vowed. “And quite frankly, it better not come from this administration, because this administration has reminded us that it is not about business as usual, that it is for total transparency.”

Maybe not this time. When I inquired with the office of a Democratic senator, one who is a big fan of inspectors general, I was told the RAT Board was “something the Obama administration wanted included in this bill.” When I asked the White House, staffers told me they’d look into it. So for now, at least, there’s been no claim of paternity.

The RAT Board has all sorts of other things wrong with it. For one thing, it’s redundant; there is already a board through which inspectors general police themselves, created last year in the Inspectors General Reform Act. For another thing, it could complicate criminal investigations stemming from inspector general probes. And then there’s the question of what it has to do with stimulating the economy.

But none of that matters now. It’s the law.

Last Friday, when he learned the RAT Board was in the final bill, Grassley wanted to voice his objections on the Senate floor. But there was no time in the rush to a vote, so Grassley’s statement went unread. “It’s fitting that the acronym for this board is RAT,” he was prepared to tell the Senate, “because that’s what I smell here.”

Byron York, The Examiner’s chief political correspondent, can be contacted at byork@dcexaminer.com. His stories and blogs can be read daily at examinerpolitics.com.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/19/2009 12:34 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
The language means that the board — whose chairman will be appointed by the president — can reach deep inside a federal agency and tell an inspector general to lay off some particularly sensitive subject. Or, conversely, it can tell the inspector general to go after a tempting political target.

Idol1
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02/19/2009 12:39 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
Some Obama lover just gave me 1 star.
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 12:42 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
Looking at it from another point of view.

This could be a way of keeping them honest. Another watch dog so to speak.
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 12:43 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
Obama sucks, his administraton sucks and the Congress sucks and we are all screwed.
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 12:44 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
Obama sucks, his administraton sucks and the Congress sucks and we are all screwed.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 576938


Isn't this what transparent government is all about????????????
wtf
bump
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/19/2009 12:46 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
Obama sucks, his administraton sucks and the Congress sucks and we are all screwed.


Isn't this what transparent government is all about????????????
wtf
bump
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 610342


Do you really want the President to be able to halt investigations of his own staff and administration?

Not even Cheney had big enough balls to float something like this.

It give the President the power to hide whatever he wants to hide.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/19/2009 12:58 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
Do you really want the President to be able to halt investigations of his own staff and administration?

Not even Cheney had big enough balls to float something like this.

It gives the President the power to hide whatever he wants to hide.

 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 569913


No one cares?
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 12:58 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
Some Obama lover just gave me 1 star.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 569913


O-bots are one star people.
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 12:59 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
so where's the text of this provision?
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 01:02 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
He has to do it to stop people looking into his birth certificate.

Pre-empting his Impeachment.
1-2-Follow

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02/19/2009 01:04 PM

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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
well congress can't really bitch about it if they voted for it without even reading the fucking thing.

that would be like me signing a blank contract and giving it to someone to fill out the provisions.

the idiots in washington will be the demise of the usa.
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Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 01:04 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
He has to do it to stop people looking into his birth certificate.

Pre-empting his Impeachment.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 594298


This whole thing is chilling - this guy and his minions are scary.
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 01:06 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
It's not just him its all the Democrats covering for him.

Pelosi must be in it up to her neck and Howard Dean is really a traitor for covering for him. Somebody has his long form birth certificate somewhere.

He must know everything thats gone on. None of them are any good.

The Republicans either don't know or they don't care.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/19/2009 01:07 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
so where's the text of this provision?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 454845


The total size of the four major files is over 100MB, and consists of 1419 pages. Three of the four files are huge "scanned" PDFs, meaning they were created by printing the original document and then scanning it in again --- and therefore contain no real "text" that can be easily searched.
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 01:08 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
He will take them all to hell with him in the end for the cover-up.

Which one of them has ever questioned him?
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/19/2009 01:09 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
well congress can't really bitch about it if they voted for it without even reading the fucking thing.

that would be like me signing a blank contract and giving it to someone to fill out the provisions.

the idiots in washington will be the demise of the usa.
 Quoting: 1-2-Follow


Exactly. Someone could have put in there provisionto make all legislators go topless on fridays, and they wouldn't know. They only flipped to the page where their preferred pork was listed, to make sure it was still there, before voting.

Greedy traitorous bastards, may slit their own necks.
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 01:09 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
All of these corrupt politicians are just doing their job as the old ways are being flushed down the toilet to make way for the new ways just like the Mayan's said would happen around 2012. Bush Sr, Clinton, Bush Jr, and now Obama are just doing their job in putting the nails in the coffin of the old ways that they are desperately trying to keep them afloat. It's game over for the new world order.

The more they do, the better for us because once people have lost everything and can't take it anymore they will snap. When people snap is when civil wars start, etc. These people will go from mindless sheep to running in the front of the packs of angry mobs. All the rest oif us have to do is sit back and hand out DVD's to the sheep and let them do all the work.
kira
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02/19/2009 01:10 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
Well if nothing else, it's appropriately named. hf
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 01:13 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
BRAVO Obamatons!

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Won't get fooled again?
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 01:15 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
so where's the text of this provision?


The total size of the four major files is over 100MB, and consists of 1419 pages. Three of the four files are huge "scanned" PDFs, meaning they were created by printing the original document and then scanning it in again --- and therefore contain no real "text" that can be easily searched.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 569913


well that's not true at all.
try one of these:
[link to thomas.loc.gov]

[link to frwebgate.access.gpo.gov]

(oh, and you can search pdfs for specific text.)

here's the specific section that establishes the recovery and accountability transparency board.
[link to thomas.loc.gov]
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 01:19 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
SEC. 1527. INDEPENDENCE OF INSPECTORS GENERAL.

(a) Independent Authority- Nothing in this subtitle shall affect the independent authority of an inspector general to determine whether to conduct an audit or investigation of covered funds.

(b) Requests by Board- If the Board requests that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation and the inspector general rejects the request in whole or in part, the inspector general shall, not later than 30 days after rejecting the request, submit a report to the Board, the head of the applicable agency, and the congressional committees of jurisdiction, including the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives. The report shall state the reasons that the inspector general has rejected the request in whole or in part. The inspector general's decision shall be final.

so basically, this board can request whatever they want, but the inspector general's decision is still final, so it's still an independent position.

guess the person who wrote the article didn't want to read that final line of section 1527.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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02/19/2009 01:20 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
so where's the text of this provision?


The total size of the four major files is over 100MB, and consists of 1419 pages. Three of the four files are huge "scanned" PDFs, meaning they were created by printing the original document and then scanning it in again --- and therefore contain no real "text" that can be easily searched.


well that's not true at all.
try one of these:
[link to thomas.loc.gov]

[link to frwebgate.access.gpo.gov]

(oh, and you can search pdfs for specific text.)

here's the specific section that establishes the recovery and accountability transparency board.
[link to thomas.loc.gov]
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 454845


Your link does not work. Can you c/p text?
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 01:21 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
here's the specific section that establishes the recovery and accountability transparency board.
[link to thomas.loc.gov]
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 454845

doesn't work
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 01:22 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
Where does he say he will come up with his birth certificate.

His medallion says he is going down. They will go down with him.

So is the stock market. He is taking that with him as well.
ShadowDancer

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02/19/2009 01:23 PM

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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
Some want change even if it means death-some love death




"Change" is the mantra-Unfortunately too many who FELL for that failed to ask what type of change, in their desperation they were blindsided-Who would of thought, and it will get much better


and seem wonderful and fluffy for many


and then they will be shocked

bump
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Anonymous Coward
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
here's the specific section that establishes the recovery and accountability transparency board.
[link to thomas.loc.gov]

doesn't work
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 618329


ok, go here:
[link to thomas.loc.gov]
scroll down to number 8 and click on that link, then do a search for 1527, and click on that link.
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
SEC. 1527. INDEPENDENCE OF INSPECTORS GENERAL.

(a) Independent Authority- Nothing in this subtitle shall affect the independent authority of an inspector general to determine whether to conduct an audit or investigation of covered funds.

(b) Requests by Board- If the Board requests that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation and the inspector general rejects the request in whole or in part, the inspector general shall, not later than 30 days after rejecting the request, submit a report to the Board, the head of the applicable agency, and the congressional committees of jurisdiction, including the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives. The report shall state the reasons that the inspector general has rejected the request in whole or in part. The inspector general's decision shall be final.

so basically, this board can request whatever they want, but the inspector general's decision is still final, so it's still an independent position.

guess the person who wrote the article didn't want to read that final line of section 1527.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 454845


It's a completely redundant and unecessary board. The IG already has an independent regulatory board. The whole purpose of the provision is try and block the IG. It's freakin' nefarious, Obamabot. If you can't see it, you are blind as well as delusional.
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 01:24 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
He has to do it to stop people looking into his birth certificate.

Pre-empting his Impeachment.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 594298



uh huh. BUMP for the truth
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 01:26 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
Will this be talk radio worthy... did this
just break?
Anonymous Coward
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02/19/2009 01:27 PM
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Re: OBAMA SNEAKS A SECRET PROVISION IN STIMULUS THAT HE CAN HALT ANY INSPECTION MANDATED BY CONGRESS
SEC. 1527. INDEPENDENCE OF INSPECTORS GENERAL.

(a) Independent Authority- Nothing in this subtitle shall affect the independent authority of an inspector general to determine whether to conduct an audit or investigation of covered funds.

(b) Requests by Board- If the Board requests that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation and the inspector general rejects the request in whole or in part, the inspector general shall, not later than 30 days after rejecting the request, submit a report to the Board, the head of the applicable agency, and the congressional committees of jurisdiction, including the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives. The report shall state the reasons that the inspector general has rejected the request in whole or in part. The inspector general's decision shall be final.

so basically, this board can request whatever they want, but the inspector general's decision is still final, so it's still an independent position.

guess the person who wrote the article didn't want to read that final line of section 1527.


It's a completely redundant and unecessary board. The IG already has an independent regulatory board. The whole purpose of the provision is try and block the IG. It's freakin' nefarious, Obamabot. If you can't see it, you are blind as well as delusional.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 569913


redundant, yes, but that's our government for you.

regardless of that, the inspector general still has TOTAL independence.

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