Mark Cuban, chair of HDNet and blogger, has played a key role in setting up a Web site to keep an eye on the massive financial bailout. According to Cuban, Bailoutsleuth.com will try to publish daily updates on how the federal government is spending tax dollars, and how the bailout is impacting people and companies. “Its job is simple,” Cuban wrote, ‘keep an eye on our taxpayer dollars and call Bullshit when necessary.” Cuban, who writes Blog Maverick, helped finance and set up Sharesleuth.com to uncover fraud and misinformation in publicly traded companies. He’s now working with Sharesleuth.com to build Baioutsleuth.com.
“Transparency is key to the success of the Bailout and related loans and investments the government makes with our tax dollars,” Cuban has written on his blog. “Without complete transparency, we will get from our government what we always get when it comes to finances, confusion.”
And last week Bailoutsleuth.com had its first revelation. “In the first contract handed out, in this case to Bank of NY Mellon Corp, the compensation section is blacked out,” the site reports.
David Sirota, writing at The Huffington Post, picked up on Bailoutsleuth’s scoop. “So, just to review — within just a few weeks of the bailout passing, our government is blacking out the parts of public contracts that explain how much taxpayer cash private contractors are going to be paid,” he writes. “Perhaps this is what Paulson meant when he promised transparency – by posting these blacked out contracts on the Treasury website, the government is being transparent about exactly where it is being secretive. But I don’t think that definition of transparency really flies, do you?”
We think this is a going to be a pretty interesting new site.