Lost in the drama over the deal to keep the U.S. auto industry afloat was yesterday's Senate confirmation of a new inspector general to oversee the $700 billion bailout package passed by Congress earlier this year. President Bush appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil Barofsky to the newly-created post within the Treasury Department last month but his nomination was being held up anonymously by a single senator, the AP reports.
Yesterday, that opposition was dropped and Barofsky was confirmed to a post from which he will watch how the bailout money is spent and report to Congress. Members of Congress have grown increasingly critical about the lack of accountability, especially after a recent GAO audit found there were no mechanisms in place to ensure that companies receiving financial help were complying with conditions placed on the assistance.
Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus said Barofsky "will have to play catch-up and work ferociously" on the nearly $350 billion already spent on the bailout and added, "I believe that he is up to the task."