Wanted: Forensic Accountants : Planet Money SIGTARP needs help, lots and lots of it.
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Wanted: Forensic Accountants

Neil Barofsky is hiring. hide caption

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Know how to audit a $700 billion bailout program for waste, fraud and abuse? Can you comb through huge balance sheets without falling asleep? Then the government wants you.

As we mentioned on the podcast, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) has been facing some hiring challenges. Neil Barofsky (the special inspector general) wants to hire 100-125 people. But so far the staff sits at 36.

Barofsky can't pay as much as the private sector, and he's got competition for the kind of auditors he needs from the various stimulus programs. There's also the usual government red tape.

President Obama is expected to sign legislation this week that will give SIGTARP additional hiring authority.

The measure also makes it so that SIGTARP "agents may carry a firearm." Hopefully that won't be necessary.

We'll have a piece on All Things Considered tonightWednesday. By the way, SIGTARP, unlike a lot of government agencies, is trying to spell everything out in jargon-free English. Its first report to Congress is surprisingly readable, with handy little sidebars explaining terms like recapitalize, insolvency, liquidity.