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TARP Transparency
A Congressional Oversight Panel report asks 10 questions about the $700 billion rescue/bailout. Many of the issues raised by the Panel share the common theme of Treasuryís transparency, or lack thereof. Some of the reportís questions seem to reveal just how little is known about what is being done with the $700 billion, a sum which outside of Washington is considered to be quite large.

For example, the first question asked is "What is Treasuryís Strategy?" The report notes that the Department has been given substantial flexibility in using the funds but that with such "powers goes a responsibility to explain the reasons for uses made of them." The report also asks such transparency-based questions as "What is the value of the preferred stock Treasury has received in exchange for cash infusions at financial institutions?" and "Are the terms comparable to those received in recent private transactions...?"

With respect to the crucial transparency question of "How is Treasury Deciding Which Institutions Receive the Money?" the report asks if Treasury is "seeking to use TARP money to shape the future of the American financial system, and if so, how?" Equally disturbing is the Congressionally-authorized panel needing to ask the Department "What is the Scope of Treasuryís Statutory Authority?"

Itís important to note that TARP is not the only financial rescue/bailout program that is less than transparent. Bloomberg News reports that the "Federal Reserve refused a disclose the recipients of more than $2 trillion of emergency loans from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral." With the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Congress emphasized their belief in the importance of private sector financial transparency. It is time the federal government applied such standards to themselves.

See First Report of the Congressional Oversight Panel for Economic Stabilization

See Bloomberg story

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