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Project on Government Oversight

POGO Calls for Greater Transparency in Financial Industry Bailout Plan

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September 23, 2008

As members of Congress weigh the pros and cons of the Treasury Department’s plan to spend up to $700 billion absorbing troubled mortgage-based assets from private firms, POGO has joined a growing coalition of groups from across the political spectrum in opposing certain sections of the plan that would allow the Treasury Secretary to make sweeping decisions while hiding behind a veil of secrecy.  POGO doesn't take a position on the causes of or the solutions to the recent economic meltdown.  But if there is going to be a bailout, we believe it is essential that the plan be conducted with full openness and transparency.

POGO is particularly concerned with the Treasury Department plan section 2(b)(2), which would grant the Secretary the authority to enter into contracts "without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts," and with section 8, which would make the Secretary's decisions non-reviewable "by any court of law or any administrative agency."

As POGO has argued in the past, it is exactly this type of secrecy that got us into trouble in the first place.  If taxpayers are being forced to foot the bill for the government's bailout scheme, Congress should at least disclose the details of the Treasury Department's activities.

 

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.