The White House lawyer tapped to oversee disbursements from a massive U.S. pandemic relief fund is a former seminarian with decades of oversight experience yet still faces questions over whether he’ll do President
Brian Miller will be the main watchdog over $500 billion directed to big business by Secretary
If confirmed by the Senate, Miller will walk a tightrope between congressional Democrats bent on tight oversight and a president who’s been quick to smite inspectors general. Since last week Trump
Miller, 64, was born in New York City and is a 1977 graduate of
The moves fed foreboding that Trump may resist adhering to the maze of rules and restrictions surrounding federal spending as months of frenzied check-writing commence.
“The inspector general providing oversight of the federal response of this historic relief package for workers and families must be independent from politics,” House Majority Leader
After law school, Miller spent time in private practice and then with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He was with the
In 2005, President
In testimony to Congress in 2007, Miller told lawmakers “the record does not support Administrator Doan’s assertion that she did everything she could to clean up the situation.”
Doan told lawmakers the inspector general’s tactics were “excessive and intrusive” and that he was resisting oversight of spending by his office.
The next year, she resigned after a House committee investigated whether she had used her office to support Republican candidates.
“I don’t care how heroic Brian or any inspector general is, I do not see how they can feel confident doing their best work knowing they can be fired by the president for political reasons,” she said in an interview.
In 2014, Miller became managing director in the Washington office of
It’s his current job at the White House that has given skeptics pause. Miller works at a White House branch where people are chosen for loyalty to the president, said Kedric Payne, senior director of ethics at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan group that works to strengthen the democratic process.
“To think that Day One the loyalty comes off when he is special IG, that is a hard thing to accept,” Payne said in an interview.
(Updates with Trump actions in third paragraph.)
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