Former Secret Service agent likely to oversee stimulus spending

WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to announce today that a former Secret Service agent who helped expose lobbyists' corruption at the Interior Department is his pick to oversee the $789 billion economic stimulus plan.

Obama is set to name Earl Devaney as chairman of the new Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, an administration official said Sunday. Vice President Joe Biden also will be given a role coordinating oversight of stimulus spending.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House had not made the announcement public.

Devaney, inspector general of the Interior Department, helped turn up disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dealings at the department.

The department's No. 2 official, Steven Griles, pleaded guilty to charges he lied during congressional testimony based in part on Devaney's investigation.

Italia Federici, co-founder of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, and former Interior Department official Roger Stillwell also pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the Interior investigation.

Obama has pledged the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board to be an at-large body to oversee how the government spends billions allocated to help the flailing U.S. economy. With dozens of agencies and departments involved, Obama wanted a central group to independently monitor where those funds are going.

Obama also planned to tap Biden to meet regularly with Cabinet members, governors and mayors to make sure their efforts were quick and effective.

His reports to Obama are expected to be posted at the administration Web site devoted to the bill, Recovery.gov.

Obama was set to announce Devaney during a meeting today with governors, who have largely supported the economic stimulus package because it will direct billions to their states for schools, roads and technology.

fast facts

Earl Devaney

Career: Senior official with the Secret Service, retired in 1991; head of criminal enforcement at the Environmental Protection Agency; inspector general — or in-house auditor — of the Interior Department since 1999.

Education: A native of Massachusetts, Devaney earned a degree from Franklin and Marshall College.

Health secretary search

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, mentioned as a top candidate for health secretary, said Sunday she has not talked with President Obama about joining his Cabinet. "There really isn't anything to tell. I haven't had any meetings about the position," said Sebelius, 60. Her name surfaced when former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Obama's first choice for health secretary, withdrew after disclosing that he had failed to pay $140,000 in taxes and interest.

Former Secret Service agent likely to oversee stimulus spending 02/22/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:48pm]

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