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Neil Barofsky Resigns as TARP Inspector General

Washington's guard dog who's watched vigilantly over the handling of the federal government's $700 billion bailout purse will step down from his post on March 30.

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""Neil Barofsky"":http://www.sigtarp.gov/about_ig.shtml, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), told President Obama that with his initial goals as the program overseer met, ""it is the right time for me to step down and pursue other opportunities.""

Barofsky was nominated to fill the SIGTARP role in November 2008 by President Bush when the TARP program was put into motion, and was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate on December 8, 2008, just as Obama's transition team was settling in.

When Barofsky took office a week later, SIGTARP consisted of only him and a single employee working out of the basement of the Treasury building.

Since then, he has grown the agency into an independent office employing more than 140 auditors, investigators, attorneys, and other professionals with its own dedicated office space in downtown Washington, D.C., and field

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offices in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

Barofsky has been one of the most outspoken and public critics of the federal government's mortgage relief and foreclosure prevention programs, regularly disparaging Treasury in his quarterly reports to Congress for the Department's handling of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) in particular.

Even in ""his resignation letter to President Obama"":http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/02/14/barofskys-resignation-letter-to-obama/, Barofsky managed to get another dig in, saying, ""the Home Affordable Modification Program has so far fallen far short of [Congress'] mandate that TARP be used to ‘preserve homeownership.'""

A _Washington Post_ report notes that Barofsky's biting comments did not sit well with Treasury officials, who claimed his conclusions were ""overstated."" One staff member, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the paper, ""We're fine with critics. [But] he's been consistently wrong about a lot of big things.""

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued a statement praising Barofsky for his work.

Issa said, ""I'd like to thank Mr. Barofsky for his extraordinary commitment to public service. The passage of TARP signaled a pivotal moment at a time of great uncertainty and no one has been more dedicated to protecting the American people's tax-dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse than Neil Barofsky.""

Issa added, ""Moving forward, it is imperative that whoever is nominated by the president to serve as the next SIGTARP demonstrates the same type of vigilance, courage, and commitment to transparency that Neil Barofsky brought to this job every day.""

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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