May 04, 2020

Senator Warren Questions Trump Official Nominated as Top Watchdog for $500 Billion Coronavirus Bailout Fund

Brian Miller, Nominee for Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery, Currently Serves in Trump White House, Raising Questions about His Independence; SIGPR Will Have the Primarily Responsibility to Ensure Coronavirus Bailout Funds are Used to Help Workers and the Economy, and Prevent Waste, Fraud, Abuse, Corruption and Conflicts of Interest

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. -- United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, today sent an 11-page letter to Brian Miller, Special Assistant to President Donald Trump and Senior Associate Counsel in the Office of White House Counsel, regarding his nomination to be Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR), one of the key oversight functions created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The letter comes in advance of his Senate Banking Committee hearing scheduled for tomorrow. 

Senator Warren's letter contains over 60 questions for Mr. Miller, and stresses the importance of an independent IG, raising particular concerns regarding Mr. Miller's current role as a Special Assistant to the President and Counsel in the Office of White House Counsel on behalf of President Trump, and whether he would be able to serve as a truly independent and non-partisan watchdog of taxpayer funds. 

"This is a critical role: if confirmed, you would be responsible for oversight of hundreds of billions of dollars of federal loans and grants which are already being distributed by Department of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell, and for ensuring that these funds are spent consistent with the law and the intent of the CARES Act to protect workers and the economy. You would have to conduct rigorous oversight to prevent corruption and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer funds, and do so in a scrupulously non-partisan and independent fashion," Senator Warren wrote.

Her letter specifically raises the following questions for Mr. Miller: (1) Will he be able to conduct non-partisan, independent oversight given his current role in the White House; (2) Does he agree with, or will he act to prevent, President Trump's efforts to undermine oversight; (3) Do Mr. Miller's past writings, in which he raised concerns about Congress requesting Inspectors General investigations, disqualify him from the position; and (4) Will he take an appropriately broad view of CARES Act oversight to ensure that funds are used to help workers and the economy, and that the decision making processes at Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve are free of corruption and conflicts of interest.

Senator Warren has asked that Mr. Miller come to Tuesday's hearing prepared to answer all of her questions, and asked that he provide written answers to these questions prior to any vote on his nomination.