I've been doing some Webinars over the past few days for reporters to show off some features of SubsidyScope.com for looking at bailout data from Treasury and the FDIC. One of the things I keep telling them is that lots of groups are looking at this data, building tools for parsing and analyzing it, and they should stay tuned.
Today I got to offer an incredibly vivid example of that: the Investigative Reporting Workshop released its BankTracker project, which uses FDIC data to answer the question, "how safe is your bank?" Wendell Cochran is heading up the effort ...Continue reading
Facing what looks like a tougher-than-expected reelection effort, Sen. Christopher Dodd has a fundraiser scheduled for tomorrow evening, March 18, at a location "TBD." (click the link to see the invite) Dodd is asking "hosts" to pony up $10,000 (PACs will be the hosts, and they'll be asked to give $5,000 for the primary and $5,000 for the general election, maxing out in March for an election twenty months away. To be a co-host, a PAC can contribute $5,000, while individuals can get in the door (which door?) for a mere $1,000 ...Continue reading
It's old news -- several trillion dollars ago -- but back in 2008 the Federal Reserve, Treasury and the FDIC started working in tandem on a series of measures to stabilize the financial system. The Federal Reserve's aid is doled our or loaned out in secrecy, despite the dogged attempts of Bloomberg News to pry loose the data; the FDIC has released some, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by our colleagues at SubsidyScope.com.
You can download data in ...Continue reading
From the A Piece of the Action? database, here's a list of cities that have hired lobbyists who have reported that the bailout or the stimulus is a specific lobbying issue, complete with links (if any) to project requests on the excellent StimulusWatch.org page for those cities:
Center Point, AL
Brewton ...Continue reading
The bailout (the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, TARP, etc.) and the stimulus (the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act) are massive pieces of legislation with lots of moving parts. Thus, the more eyeballs on them and what's around them, the better.
A Piece of the Action? tracks one aspect of the unfolding age of bailing and stimulating -- interests hiring Washington lobbyists to at the very least monitor and likely to try to influence how the government spends its money.
As noted immediately below, this database is an imperfect resource. But it's what we can do ...Continue reading
Via twitter, via Right Org, comes this very cool way of tracking the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program investments from Ethisphere -- almost like an S&P index of stocks of publicly traded firms that have received money from TARP:
For the week ended February 13, 2009, the aggregate Ethisphere TARP Index is down a total of $86.5 billion, out of the original investment principal of $195.5 billion for a total balance of $109 billion. However, the Adjusted Ethisphere TARP Index, which excludes the calamity investments, has an aggregate loss $27.6 billion as of the week ...Continue reading
Yesterday I was talking to some folks about whether, given the trillions potentially committed to bailouts, there's any sense in continuing to probe earmarks. I say of course there is.
Our friends at the Center for Responsive Politics put together a handy guide to the political influence wielded by Bernard L. Madoff, who was arrested and charged with running a hedge fund that allegedly operated as a giant ponzi scheme. Among the information CRP flagged was a lobbying disclosure from 2005 from the firm of Lent, Scrivner & Roth, LLC, which shows, on page three, that Bernard L. Madoff Investment ...Continue reading
Reading the restructuring plan that General Motors put together makes me wonder whether, in a broad sense, there isn't an insuperable conflict of interest between members of Congress and the automakers. Consider just one aspect of the plan:
...the number of GM retailers is expected to decline to 4,700 by 2012. This will occur primarily in metropolitan and suburban areas where GM has too many dealers to serve the market. In the Plan, it is projected these dealers will be reduced by 35%, increasing annual throughput for the remaining outlets to a more competitive level with other high-volume ...Continue reading
It's old news now: yesterday, President-elect Barack Obama announced he was picking Timothy Geithner, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as his Treasury Secretary.
Geithner's New York Fed, according to Bloomberg.com, has been "accepting [securities from banks] on behalf of American taxpayers as collateral for $1.5 trillion of loans. (Bear in mind that link is several weeks old, and, due to rounding and additional bailouts, may be off by a trillion dollars or two).
Bloomberg filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act for documents related to that $1.5 trillion ...Continue reading