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SIGTARP Grabs Mandate and Runs With It

We were heartened to see today's statement from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) (a.k.a. The Watchdog's Watchdog) attaching a letter from the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program or TARP.

(Tangentially, is it only us or does it seem lately that everyone has gone from talking of “troubled” assets to “toxic” ones?  Obviously not a good sign.)

The Special IG, Neil Barofsky, reports that he is in the process of “sending a request to all entities that have received TARP money to date asking them to account for their use of TARP funds and to describe their efforts to comply with applicable executive compensation restrictions.”

Barofsky reports “some progress” in his efforts to pry more transparency out of Treasury regarding TARP operations, but says that the issue of what has been done with TARP money “remains almost entirely opaque.”

He says the lack of transparency can erode the public's trust, “potentially putting at risk the legitimacy of the entire program.”  It also could hamper his ability both to oversee compliance by the recipient banks with the terms of their agreements, and also to assess the effectiveness of the overall program: “Even a basic examination of whether various TARP programs are successfully furthering the goals of [the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act] EESA is made difficult if we do not know what was done with the money...”

By: Beverley Lumpkin
Investigator, POGO

At the time of publication, Beverley Lumpkin was an investigator with the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Financial Sector

Related Content: Watching the Watchdogs, Inspector General Oversight, Financial Oversight

Authors: Beverley Lumpkin

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