On Wednesday, US Attorney General announced via letter that he and Ken Feinberg had agreed to an independent audit of the GCCF’s claims process, and whereas this audit was perceived to be a welcome idea, one whose time is long since due…there remained some concerns.
Writing two days ago, I expressed a number of questions about how encompassing this audit might be, about the fairness involved and frankly, when it comes to all things oil spill, is the Federal government really to be trusted to appoint an independent auditor? Perhaps the affected states should be involved in the selection and/or otherwise.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood in a statement said, “It is a shame we had to file a lawsuit to try to force Mr. Feinberg to do the right thing, I plan to speak with U.S. Attorney General Holder to ensure this audit is truly independent and in the best interest of the residents of our Gulf Coast.”
Also weighing in was Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater who said in an e-mail response to the Pensacola News Journal, “It’s about time, they need to work quickly and look with strict scrutiny at the claims-paying practices at GCCF.”
And more tellingly, Atwater added:
“Feinberg is a presidential appointee, and an audit conducted solely by the federal government is not going to dispel legitimate concerns about the transparency and fairness of the claims process. Florida needs and deserves representatives in this process, and that means including auditors from my team at the table looking on behalf of Floridians. To leave Florida out of the process, he said, “would be a continuation of the cloak of darkness that has surrounded this process from the outset.”
The Justice Department declined to comment.
Both men are right…this audit will be used to either persecute or vindicate Ken Feinberg and the GCCF’s claims process. It will be key in establishing the narrative regarding the GCCF’s fairness and the way claimants unhappy with this process will be perceived. All four affected states should have a hand in this, and should not leave it to the Federal Government and Feinberg to establish the way this audit will be conducted, if for no other reason than Feinberg wants his vindication and the Federal government wants political cover. After all, they appointed Feinberg to this position and it would seem that to leave the parameters of this audit in the hands of the two entities who will benefit most from a positive outcome…
That will only leave one more process in dispute, and that will help nobody.
Have a nice day.