- The Washington Times - Monday, February 23, 2009

President Obama has continually made the point since the signing of the stimulus bill that he will not tolerate any fraud or waste of taxpayer money. Yet, when I read in the bill how oversight would be achieved, specifically by his personally appointed five-member Recovery Independent Advisory Panel (HR1, Division A, Title XV, Accountability and Transparency) an interesting fact emerges. The panel members, who make recommendations to the Accountability and Transparency Oversight Board on actions it could take to prevent fraud, waste and abuse, are permitted “to accept, use and dispose of gifts or donations of services or property.”

Instead of “pay-to-play,” this seems to be a “pay-to-look-away” scheme. It will be interesting to see whom the president appoints to this panel and how rich the appointees might become protecting the taxpayers’ dollars.

CAROL DUNCAN

Jeffersonton, Va.

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