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32 Senators Call For Creation Of Special Investigator General To Oversee Bailout

A bipartisan group of 32 senators is calling for a special auditor for any federal bailout program for financial institutions.

The group, led by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., says a special investigator general for the program would be an important step to preventing waste, fraud and abuse.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders of both parties, the 32 senators said the program should be modeled after the Special Investigator General investigating problems in Iraqi reconstruction efforts.

"But this Special Treasury Inspector General would be on the job long before waste, fraud, and abuse has a chance to take hold in the Treasury program," they said in the letter. "Proper oversight will require not only our constant effort, but the full time attention of an office with only one task: to monitor this extremely complex effort with a team of expert personnel who will not be distracted by other duties."

The letter calls for the new IG to be nominated within 30 days of approval of a bailout plan and demands that the inspector have full power to investigate, audit and issue subpoenas.

"I don't like bailouts, and I certainly wasn't okay with the blank-check request that first came to Congress from the Treasury. If Congress does pass legislation - and I will have to look at it closely - creating a Special Inspector General will make any program more accountable to taxpayers," Baucus said in a statement.

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