Bailout Reporting Requirements


A couple of days ago, I blogged about the need for transparency in the bailout. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, or H.R. 1424, does contain Section 105 where reporting requirements can be found. The section says that the Secretary of the Treasury is required to report to Congress 60 days into the bailout and every 30-day period thereafter on the actions taken, the actual obligation and expenditure of funds over that period, and a detailed financial statement of all activity, transactions, costs, etc.

The second sub-section requires the secretary to compile “tranche reports” once the $50 billion and $100 billion commitment levels are reached. Earlier this week, Treasury released their first report. And the law requires Treasury to produce a written report on the state of the financial markets and regulatory system and submit it to Congress no later than April 30, 2009. But as OMB Watch said, ProPublica is steps ahead of Treasury by compiling a better, more up to date list than the mandated government reports. This is obviously one sign of the need for even better transparency.

Also, The New York Times reports that of the $350 billion released by Congress, only $60 billion is left to be doled out. That means that the spending of the money far outpaces disclosure. Paul Blumenthal, my Sunlight colleague, has already blogged about that. Certainly a little more timely transparency is warranted than the receipt of some report in April, over five and a half months from now.

Can this administration even define what the words real-time, on line, downloadable data means?