WASHINGTON — Glenn Fine, the inspector general for the Defense Department, was appointed to head the committee that will oversee the largest rescue package in U.S. history.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump last week, provides more than $2 trillion to help stave off the economic IMPACTS caused by the COVID-19 outbreak that has now killed more than 3,000 people in the U.S. and nearly 40,000 people worldwide.
The CARES Act calls for the establishment of a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to oversee the distribution of the funds approved in the massive stimulus bill, as well as the two previous emergency spending bills that were passed to address the outbreak. Fine will head that nine-person committee composed of inspector generals from other departments.
"I look forward to working with my fellow Inspectors General on the Committee to provide effective, independent oversight of the funding provided by the pandemic legislation," Fine said in a statement on Monday. "Through our efforts, we will seek to promote transparency and ensure that funds are being used consistently with the law’s mandate to respond to this public health crises."
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During the contentious debate ahead of the final bill's passage, the establishment of an oversight committee to prevent waste and abuse was insisted upon by congressional Democrats who were particularly concerned that the nearly $500 billion allocated to help large industries could become a corporate "slush fund."
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said he was pleased with Fine's appointment.
"The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee is critical to holding President Trump and his administration accountable to the letter and spirit of the law," Schumer said in a statement. "Glenn Fine has a good reputation as a tough federal prosecutor and former DOJ Inspector General, and must exercise his full oversight authority to ensure that the Trump administration implements the CARES Act as intended."
Fine has served as the acting inspector general for the Pentagon since 2016 and he joined the Defense Department's Office of the Inspector General in 2015. Prior to that, he served at the inspector general for the Department of Justice from 2000 to 2011, according to his DoD biography. A co-captain on the Harvard University basketball team, Fine was drafted by the NBA's San Antonio Spurs, but he went on the law school instead. He also obtained a master's degree from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.