Continued from page 1

CV Starr & Co., an investment company headed by former AIG chief executive Maurice Greenberg, paid $80,000 to lobbyists who contacted Treasury and other agencies on “insurance issues related to the implementation of the Troubled Asset Relief Program,” according to filings.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association spent more than $1 million on lobbying during the last quarter of 2009. Its activities included contacting Treasury and other agencies on the EESA, filings show.

None of those activities has been disclosed on Treasury’s Web site.

Under Treasury’s transparency rules, employees contacted by a registered lobbyist on “EESA policy or applications for funding” must, with limited exceptions, document the date, name of the lobbyist and the nature of the conversation. Then, the information is supposed to be posted on the Treasury’s Web site within three days.

Mr. Geithner first announced in January 2009 his call for new rules to limit lobbyists’ influence in the federal bailout of financial institutions.

“American taxpayers deserve to know that their money is spent in the most effective way to stabilize the financial system,” he said.

Mr. Obama also pointed to the need for transparency on the TARP program at Mr. Geithner’s swearing-in ceremony.

Speaking of efforts to stabilize the financial system, Mr. Obama said that “we’ll do it in a way that protects the American taxpayer and includes the highest level of transparency and oversight so that the American people can hold us accountable for results.”

But Mr. Geithner made the announcement in a press release and the rules were not promulgated until September, observers have pointed out. Last year, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program noted Treasury’s delays in implementing the rules.

In a report, the inspector general said Mr. Geithner said the new rules arose from concern about news reports about the potential for “external influence to affect decisions.”

However, Mr. Geithner also told the inspector general that “other issues had consumed Treasury’s time and taken precedence over completing the guidance,” the report stated.

Since September, Treasury has posted information about eight lobbying contacts, with four of them coming from the same organization, the American Bankers Association.

Sunlight’s Mr. Schuman has been following the issue since Mr. Geithner first announced his call for lobbying rules.

In October, weeks after the disclosure rules were put into place, Mr. Schuman was preparing to post a blog item questioning why Treasury had not made any disclosures. The day before he planned to release his findings, he said, he made one last call to Treasury before publishing his findings. That afternoon, he said, two disclosures were posted on Treasury’s site.

But both disclosures detailed lobbying contacts weeks earlier, failing to meet Treasury’s guideline to disclose the information within three days.

Story Continues →