Wall Street Journal profiles Neil Barofsky '95, top watchdog of government's $700 billion bailout program

The Wall Street Journal profiles Neil Barofsky '95, the special inspector general overseeing the $700 billion government bailout program

The March 6 Wall Street Journal profiles Neil Barofsky '95, the special inspector general for the U.S. Treasury Department who is overseeing the government's $700 billion bailout program.

Armed with broad authority, including subpoena power and the right to carry a handgun, the Journal reports, Barofsky is charged with tracking the bailout funds disbursed under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The position carries greater reach and independence than the other two special inspector generals overseeing the Iraq and Afghanistan reconstructions. Those officials report to the secretaries of state and defense, while Barofsky answers directly to Congress.

Barofsky says his office has "the right to investigate and audit any TARP dollar, anywhere it goes," and to go after any type of TARP-related fraud. He says his purpose is to make sure taxpayer money is spent the way Congress intended and to pursue anyone, inside or outside the government, who misuses the funds. "Members of Congress told me repeatedly that they want me to be the person who goes after the people who want to steal."

Before coming to Washington, Barofsky was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted mortgage fraud, predatory lending, deceptive foreclosure practices, and narcotics crimes.