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“At present, we don´t know whether these companies are using these funds to fly on private jets, attend lavish conferences or lobby Congress,” Mrs. Feinstein said.

Thomas A. Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, noted that the Constitution guarantees U.S. citizens the right to lobby their government. But he said the size and scope of the federal bailout allows some limits to be set.

“This is an unprecedented act, and with so few rules associated with the expenditures of the money, it seems there are more opportunities to exert influence,” he said.