Towns Vows Vigorous Oversight of Democratic White House

Posted January 14, 2009 at 9:04am

Newly installed House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday promised aggressive oversight of executive branch agencies regardless of the fact that both Congress and the White House will now be controlled by Democrats.

Towns said he will emphasize government transparency, an issue that President-elect Barack Obama stressed during his Senate tenure. Speaking at a panel discussion arranged by FTI Consulting, Towns said he expects to have “an excellent working relationship” with the new administration on issues of government transparency.

The New York Democrat said the Bush administration has resisted disclosure on numerous fronts, and “we need to quickly end this era of secrecy” and “stop sweeping problems under the rug.”

One of his first priorities, Towns said, is looking into government procurement and contracting. In particular, Towns want to ensure that contractors delinquent on their taxes are not awarded new federal contracts.

Towns also promised oversight of the billions of dollars in federal bailout money Congress allocated to the financial industry. In addition, the new chairman said he would take an active interest in the 2010 Census to make sure that minority and urban populations are not undercounted.