Speaking on Tulsa Oklahoma’s 1170 KFAQ, when asked who was behind threats of martial law and civil unrest if the bailout bill failed, Senator James Inhofe named Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as the source.
“Somebody in D.C. was feeding you guys quite a story prior to the bailout, a story that if we didn’t do this we were going to see something on the scale of the depression, there were people talking about martial law being instituted, civil unrest….who was feeding you guys this stuff?,” asked host Pat Campbell.
“That’s Henry Paulson,” responded Inhofe, “We had a conference call early on, it was on a Friday I think – a week and half before the vote on Oct. 1. So it would have been the middle … what was it – the 19th of September, we had a conference call. In this conference call – and I guess there’s no reason for me not to repeat what he said, but he said – he painted this picture you just described. He said, ‘This is serious. This is the most serious thing that we faced.’”
Inhofe said that Paulson told members of Congress the crisis would be “far worse than the great depression” if Congress didn’t authorize the bill to buy out toxic debt, a proposal “which he abandoned the day after he got the money,” added Inhofe.
Inhofe is referring to the controversy last week when it emerged that the bailout money was not going to buy up toxic debt but instead Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, had pulled a bait and switch and ordered the money be injected directly into banks.
Senator Inhofe has slammed the secrecy surrounding the destination of the bailout money, saying that Hank Paulson could have given it to his friends and that the “blank check” must be cancelled now.
Inhofe is now trying to rally support for a freeze on what’s left of the initial $350 billion of bailout money with his “roll back the bailout” proposal, which will also require an affirmative vote on the part of Congress to approve Treasury’s plan for the remaining $350 billion.