Treasury Watchdog Looking Into Why the Harriet Tubman $20 Is Taking So Damn Long

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The Treasury Department’s Office of the Inspector General will look into why a $20 bill with Harriet Tubman’s face on it has been delayed, according to the New York Times. The inquiry was made public with the release of a letter from Treasury’s Inspector General Rich Delmar to Sen. Chuck Schumer.


The proposed Tubman note, which would feature a portrait of the woman who helped run the famed Underground Railroad for escaped slaves, was first announced in 2016 and was originally planned to be unveiled in 2020, the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. It has now been delayed until 2026, and some have wondered if the reason has something to do with the woman it portrays.

At a Treasury meeting in May, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin seemed to backpedal on promises about the note.

From the Times:

Mr. Mnuchin, at the hearing, would not commit to Tubman being featured on the note, diverging from the plan and timeline set by the Obama administration and leaving the decision to a future Treasury secretary.

A Times report earlier this month found that production of the note was pretty far along before Trump pulled the plug, so Mnuchin’s claims that he’s too busy to handle the new design are sketchy at best.

After that meeting, Schumer wrote a letter to the Treasury OIG urging an inquiry. Delmar wrote back to Schumer that the inquiry into the bill will be part of a larger look at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s project management of new designs and security features.


“As part of this work, we will interview the stakeholders involved in the new note design process,” Delmar wrote.

“I believe this approach will efficiently address the concerns expressed in your request,” he added. “If, in the course of our audit work, we discover indications of employee misconduct or other matters that warrant a referral to our Office of Investigations, we will do so expeditiously.”


The audit should take ten months to complete.

President Trump has publicly spoken out against the redesign. As a candidate in 2016, he said on the Today show that replacing Andrew Jackson with Tubman on the note was “pure political correctness.”


Trump added that Jackson “represented somebody that really was very important to this country,” and that he believed it’d be “more appropriate” to put Tubman on a different denomination.