The Government Accountability Office (GAO) came out with its first report on the $700 billion financial bailout. Its title, “Additional Actions Needed to Better Ensure Integrity, Accountability, and Transparency,” is quite an understatement if there ever was one.
The report found that the Treasury Department has no mechanism in place to monitor what the banks are doing with the money. “The question of whether the banks would hoard the invested capital or use it to buy weaker banks instead of lending it out has been a concern since Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson first announced the program,” wrote Paul Kiel in ProPublica. Another concern is that there are no limitations on executive compensation and dividend payments. As Zachary Roth at TPM Muckraker writes, “It’s a no-strings-attached deal, it would seem.” GAO highlights the need “to formalize transition planning efforts and establish an effective management structure and an essential system of internal control.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was right to call the report “discouraging,” citing its lack of transparency and accountability.