Good TARP Transparency Amendment

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Rep. Tim Walz introduced an amendment to the second round of TARP – the economic recovery funds aka the bailout – that would require the Treasury Department to post online reports on how funds are being spent. Here’s part of a letter of support Walz is circulating around Capitol Hill:

H.R. 384 requires that institutions that received assistance under the TARP or that receive assistance in the future file at-least quarterly public reports on their use of the funds.

My amendment would require the Treasury Department to make those reports publicly available online, so that the public may have easy access to them. Americans have the right to know how their money has been spent and what financial institutions have done with their bailout funds.  Yet the operations of the TARP have been insufficiently transparent and accountable.  While the public has spent an enormous amount of money providing assistance to financial institutions, we know far too little about what these institutions did with the money.

It boggles the mind that a requirement for the online posting of any document labeled a “public disclosure” would be left out of legislation in this day and age. How can one call a document “public” if it is only available to those who can physically thumb through files at the Treasury Department? These disclosures must be available online to ensure real transparency.

The House intends on voting on the Walz amendment this afternoon.

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  • This is all what assistance is about. Unlike Here’s or the New York Stock Exchange centres, it has no fixed abode, but manages very well and is extremely active. You need to determine what features and functions the online posting before putting the economic recovery funds inside.

  • Paul: that’s a good step, but why, when real-time reporting is now feasible, should we have to wait that long? Ideally, as I wrote in TechPres, I’d like to see it real-time — including public reporting, not just to Treasury — and they should have to offer some really substantive reason for any longer delay.