TARP Watchdog: 'We Do Not Seem To Be A Priority For The Treasury'

The watchdog for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the government's financial rescue plan, said today that the Treasury Department has not been cooperating with oversight efforts up to this point.
 
"We do not seem to be a priority for the Treasury Department," the Congressional Oversight Panel's Elizabeth Warren told a Senate Finance Committee hearing today.
 
"We have sent letters. We have requested that there be someone named so that we can get technical information. And so far, we have not been a first priority," Warren said. "We use what you give us, and we will exercise the leverage given to us by Congress. In part, that's why I'm here today. I'm here to talk to you about what's happened so far, what we have discovered so far, the inquiries that we have in mid-stream and for which we continue to await responses."
 
Warren, visibly frustrated with a lack of cooperation from the administration, emphasized, "This problem starts with Treasury."
 
Neil Barofsky, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, voiced similar concerns.
 
He noted that his office just conducted a survey of all 364 TARP recipients on their use of government funds, something they had requested Treasury do, only for the Department to decline to do so except in the cases of Citigroup and Bank of America.
 
"One thing is clear: complaints that it was impractical, impossible, or a waste of time to require banks to detail how they used TARP funds were unfounded," Barofsky said.
 
"The survey strongly supports my earlier recommendation to Treasury," he emphasized. "Banks can and should be required to report on their use of taxpayer money to provide maximum transparency and not simply be asked to report on the possible impact of the funds, such as giving only lending activity."
 
Ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the administration needs to start living up to its promise to increase the program's transparency.
 
"Unfortunately, despite saying all the right things about open government, the new administration has not made any major changes aimed at making TARP more transparent," he said. "Moreover, I have heard about potential problems with access to information from all three of the oversight bodies testifying."
 
At this morning's hearing, such problems were emphasized time and time again by Warren. Her Congressional Oversight Panel will release their fifth report on TARP next week.
 
"As I see it, you really have two options here: either you get Treasury to get some religion on this point -- and put their own standards in place, or Congress is forced to step in," Warren said. "We will do everything we can on your behalf, as your congressional oversight panel, but what we can best do for you now is to identify and pinpoint that this is precisely where the problem starts. And then the problem has roll down effects all the way through the system of lack of accountability, complexity that no one can figure out what's going on, so that we never identify the place where we need to start the solution."
 
Comments:

Madam Watchdog. Now, you know what the AMERICAN PEOPLE knew from the very beginning - bailouts would be a disaster - throwing money into an abyss. WASHINGTON and WALL STREET are too interconnected to allow transparency. Money flows between the two like blood in an UMBILICAL CORD. By the way. If you are going to be a watchdog, you better show some TEETH. You look more like a watch kitten. No wonder you were chosen for the job.
Posted by: Carol
 
Carol: Your point is hilarious and so true. She has no teeth, because Congress doesn't want her to have teeth. I have to re-post your comments ----- "Madam Watchdog. Now, you know what the AMERICAN PEOPLE knew from the very beginning - bailouts would be a disaster - throwing money into an abyss. WASHINGTON and WALL STREET are too interconnected to allow transparency. Money flows between the two like blood in an UMBILICAL CORD. By the way. If you are going to be a watchdog, you better show some TEETH. You look more like a watch kitten. No wonder you were chosen for the job." ---- Perfect!
Posted by: Karen
 
You cannot bankrupt the country through transparency.
That is why TARP was pushed through with such gloom and doom zealous.
Everything else is just smoke and mirrors.
Wake up America! You Gov't is not here to serve YOU! They are only interested in a means to an end. YOUR end.
Posted by: Bruce

Once again President Obama- Please begin to follow through on what you promised.

Where are the Congressional leaders ( if we actually have any)- Pelosi, Reid, etc?

If these banks dont want to answer the questions thats fine- pay the TARP money back today- then you can do what you want - private jets, junkets, all with no questions asked.
Posted by: Angela

Ms Warren is chipping away at a Treasury stonewall, with a teaspoon, to get the transparency that the American public deserves. I'm no politico, but do I hear a whistle? Who runs the 362 other companies that recieved TARP funding? And why are they being protected from public scorn?! If Elizabeth Warren and her congressional oversite panel were given priority, they might catch the criminals who have been robbing the American public since I was born. And no, I am not a really articulate 5th grader.
Posted by: Dianne Yvette

Transparency? This government shoved a "stimulus" package thru congress without allowing time for anyone to read it, citing catastrophe or crises every other word, and the went on vacation. This goverment passed AIG bonuses they knew where in there, and then reneged on the deal with phoney outrage. This government is trying to shove thru a pork laden budget, without advertizing the last 5 years of huge deficit spending, by changing the rules for passage. This administration has done nothing but lie before, during and after the election. This government is not to be trusted on anything.
Posted by: betsy

Duh? Did they really think they would tell the public what is going on and where all that money is going? Naaaa
Posted by: Carol

Obama looting the country for his banker buddies on Wall St. and the media or congress being allowed to make it public? HAHAHAHAHA!!! No chance in HELL!!! Gotta love the fake indignation though... Priceless, give that woman a medal!
Posted by: hmn...

Look like the stinky stuff of Obama administration is going to hit the fan soon. This will be ugly.
Posted by: Swiftlearner

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