CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
202-408-5565 | [email protected]
Washington—In the face of comments made by President Trump resisting disclosure and oversight provisions established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter to the Department of Treasury and Federal Reserve System urging the agencies to comply with critical transparency requirements established by the landmark legislation, or risk legal action forcing them to adhere to the law. In the letter, CREW voices its concerns to the agencies that without proper accountability measures in place, there is a strong possibility of corruption, fraud, waste and abuse across the government.
The CARES Act grants the Treasury and the Federal Reserve the authority to broadly distribute up to $500 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and other investments to businesses in response to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act also creates public disclosure requirements so that oversight bodies and the public can meaningfully evaluate how funds are being spent. These disclosures will enable oversight entities, CREW, and the public to assess actual or perceived conflicts of interests concerning those receiving taxpayer funds.
“This is the largest economic stimulus bill in American history, and taxpayers ought to be assured that their tax dollars are going back into their communities and providing real economic relief and support for those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic — not enriching the president, his friends, or special interest groups,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “Ensuring Secretary Mnuchin and Chairman Powell act with transparency and comply with disclosure provisions is one way our government can protect the interests of Americans across the country.”
Noting specific disclosure obligations, the letter outlines CREW’s plans to closely scrutinize the Treasury’s and Federal Reserve’s compliance with the CARES Act’s disclosure provisions. CREW does not rule out resorting to legal action when necessary, stating that it will, “where necessary, take appropriate action to compel such compliance.” The letter advises the agencies that compliance with the law is necessary to ensure that all disclosures are promptly, conveniently, and widely disseminated to the public.
“Transparency and accountability are structurally fundamental to our democracy,” said Bookbinder. “It is crucial that the public has confidence that those the President and Congress have entrusted to oversee this stimulus spending are doing so in accordance to the law.”