The federal official tasked with leading the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee was fired just weeks after the panel was established, a move that Rep. Antonio Delgado said was “deeply concerning,” as it could lead to less accountability and more fraudulent activity with billions of federal coronavirus relief funds.
The freshman representative from New York was joined in his concern by other elected officials, like Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
Glenn Fine was selected in March to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which was created as part of the coronavirus relief funding. The committee is designed to make sure that federal dollars that should be going towards communities to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are not misspent.
Fine was the acting Pentagon Inspector General until President Trump fired him, effectively removing him as the overseer of the pandemic funds, too. Fine will be replaced as head of the watchdog committee by Sean W. O’Donnell, who currently serves as the EPA’s inspector general.
“Two weeks ago, a broad, bipartisan coalition voted to pass the vitally important emergency relief legislation with the inclusion of critical oversight measures to ensure the faithful stewardship of federal dollars. Removing a key government watchdog from overseeing the largest stimulus package in our nation’s history is deeply concerning and runs counter to a unified message of placing emergency relief above partisan politics. Americans need relief now, not divisive partisanship,” Delgado said in a statement.
In the past few weeks, President Trump has removed two inspectors general, including Fine, and made clear that he is not pleased with a third, according to reports.
Delgado also took to Twitter to say the American people need help relieving the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, not partisan fighting between elected officials.