TARP Oversight, Transparency Still Needs Improvement

The folks at Treasury are flying blind when it comes to the many dollars they're spending on the Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known by the unfortunate acronym, TARP.

That's the gist of testimony from GAO chief, Gene Dodaro. Speaking to the subcommittee on oversight and investigations of the House financial services committee, Dodaro stressed the need for better oversight of the $300 or so billion that has been disbursed to banks so far.

Ok, we all sort of know there's a lack of information about how the money is being used and to what effect. But seeing his statement in print add gravity and detail to the message.

He offered a long list of recommendations. They include:

"- continue to expeditiously hire personnel needed to carry out and oversee TARP.

- expedite efforts to ensure that sufficient personnel are assigned and properly trained to oversee the performance of all contractors, especially for contracts priced on a time-and-materials basis, and move toward fixed-price arrangements whenever possible as program requirements are better defined over time."

There's also this, a mondo question about whether anyone will be able to determine the impact of all this spending, even if it is done with good oversight and transparency:

"Finally, given the fact that program actions have only recently occurred and that there are time lags in the reporting of available data, it is too early in the program's implementation to see measurable results in many areas. Even with more time and better data, it will remain difficult to separate the impact of TARP activities from the effects of other economic forces."

By Robert O'Harrow |  February 25, 2009; 6:02 AM ET stimulus , tarp
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Let's be frank about the original TARP money. Bush was pressured by the powerful Mormon church to whom he is deeply indebted, to bail them out on their financial problems. To regain control of the White House and Congress, he (with Paulson) engaged Wall Street to concoct an elaborate scheme of doom. The weak Democrats fell for it. Most of the money went to untraceable schemes to enrich corporations and political entities who will use this money in 2010 and 2012. It is so obvious. The Obama Admin needs to trace it and void it. John Thain of Bank of America is a prime example. There are many others.

Posted by: pkbishop | February 25, 2009 3:10 PM

Although I too have many questions about the TARP funds I would like to know why no media outlet seems to address specifically the money that was given to AIG. When you put all of the bits and pieces reported together the picture of the puzzle becomes a little bit clearer...AIG spends their share paying off the Insurance claims on these toxic assests. This appears to be the bigger problem rather than what is being touted by everyone (sub prime mortgage defaults). I believe the sub primes do not account for as large a portion as is being stated (makes it easier for the public to swallow). We will never know because it is the smoke and mirror of this whole deboggle. Who were the holders of a large portion of these insurance policies or swap defaults..? Couldn't be Paulson's previous employer ..I think maybe it was. Funny how this firm didn't get pummelled by this whole mess and are in pretty good shape..no! I also believe they received a large portion of these funds from AIG because a couple of weeks back AIG indicated that they were not interested in receiving any more funds from the government. They stated this after they were told before you get any more funds you need to lay out where the first round of money went! They responded with we won't take any more funds if that was going to occur. What is that all about and why did no media jump on that?
What adds insult to injury is it appears as though there were multiply policies on the same toxic assets thus companies/people are being paid multiple times for the same defaults(e.g. having more than one homeowners policy active on a home that burns down thus getting paid by multiple insurance companies on that same home).
Poor Defoe or whatever his name is (the guy who was in direct competition with Paulson when he was at his previous employer) he got left out in the cold when it came to government picking up the pieces.. every firm except his got some help! I guess Paulson wanted to teach him a lesson ah!
Why is the media not addressing or questioning any of these issues/conflicts in any forum? Makes one think! Disputing my take on this whole mess is welcome...any takers??

Posted by: mrainh | February 26, 2009 9:13 AM

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