Wall Street Journal
September 22, 2008

Few Limits Proposed for Treasury
Draft Rescue Bill Bars Court Review, Riling Lawmakers

If the Bush administration has its way, anyone harmed by the Treasury Department’s handling of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout might have no remedy.

Draft legislation proposes sweeping powers for Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to buy and sell mortgage-related securities however he sees fit. Aside from requiring periodic reports to Congress, the bill provides no oversight of the bailout’s management — and specifically bars any court or agency from reviewing it.

Congressional Democrats said they were wary of handing a lame-duck administration what one aide called a “blank check.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D., Mich.) “is very concerned about the breadth of the draft language, and we are working to insure that reasonable limits are included,” a committee staffer said.

The effort to block court review reminded some congressional staffers of the Bush administration’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when it issued language and took steps to keep judges from second-guessing decisions about wiretapping and detention of suspected enemy agents.

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