At the same time he signed the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package on Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump also issued a signing statement in which he insisted he can refuse to allow a federal watchdog to let Congress know exactly where some $500 billion worth of payments to corporations is spent.

According to HuffPost:

“On Friday, Trump wrote in a statement to accompany his signature making the measure law that the new Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery cannot go to Congress — as the law states — if refused information about loans and investments made by the treasury secretary, unless the president approves.

“The provision authorizing the IG to unilaterally inform Congress is ‘unreasonable,’ Trump said in his statement. ‘My administration will not treat this provision as permitting the SIGPR to issue reports to Congress without … presidential supervision,’ according to the statement.”

JUST IN: Trump signing statement on coronavirus bill says he’ll override a provision requiring the newly created inspector general to report to Congress any time agencies refuse to give him/her requested info.

Can the president do that? He can try, but it’s not likely to work, according to former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub, who said the signing statement is little more than “a note saying ‘I will fight you.’”:

And Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow Friday evening that Congress “will exercise its oversight.”

The $500 billion in question comes from our tax money, which we pay each and every year as required by law. If anyone has the right to see how it’s spent, it’s the people footing the bill. Why doesn’t Donald Trump want us to know who receives it?

Featured Image Via NBC News