Special Pandemic Watchdog Commits to ‘report any undue influence’ After Tester Presses on Independent Oversight

Senator was instrumental in creation of Special Pandemic Inspector General position to provide oversight over $2.2 trillion in CARES Act funding

Continuing his push to hold government accountable and ensure strict oversight over the $2.2 trillion in pandemic relief aimed at helping workers and small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Senator Jon Tester secured a commitment from Brian Miller, the nominee to be Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery, that he would “report any undue influence on me from whatever source.”

“I’ve been stonewalled every step of the way trying to get information from this Administration on where this money is going. Every single step of the way,” said Tester. “So your position is critically important if we are going to have any level of oversight.”

Tester was instrumental in creating the position of the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery within the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and he and his colleague Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) called on the Administration to provide Congress with details about its plans for rigorous oversight.

Following President Trump’s removal of Glenn Fine, the Chairman of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee charged with overseeing the distribution of $2.2 trillion in taxpayer dollars allocated by the CARES Act, Tester urged the heads of every federal agency tasked with pandemic recovery assistance to establish protocols to make sure coronavirus relief funds are targeted to the most affected businesses and individuals, and to update procedures to identify and prevent fraud and abuse. Tester called his removal “a thumb in the eye to any Montana taxpayer who stands to receive critically-needed financial relief” from the bill.

And Tester explained to Miller, currently a lawyer in the White House Counsel’s office, why Americans could be concerned he will bow to pressure from the Administration to ignore wrongdoing: “First of all, this is $2.2 trillion dollars in taxpayer money. Second of all, I have watched the President remove Atkinson, the intelligence Inspector General. I have watched him remove Rick Bright when he challenged Hydroxychloroquine. I have watched him remove Colonel Vindeman and his brother when he testified under oath on impeachment. I have watched him remove Glenn Fine. You worked as White House Counsel—the fact is I have no doubt that if you go against the President, he’s going to remove you because he’s done it time and time and time again.”

Tester’s full exchange with Miller can be found HERE.

Visit tester.senate.gov/coronavirusresources for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak.