Government watchdogs are complaining that Treasury officials are not being transparent enough about how the hundreds of billions of TARP funds are being spent.
The program sparked outrage when it was discovered that the American International Group had spent millions of the bailout funds on lavish executive bonuses. Officials charged with monitoring the rest of the funds say their relationship with Treasury is strained.
The Treasury Department has spent more than $303 billion of the $700 billion in TARP funds, yet lacks a communications officer among its 113 staff in charge of releasing the money.
A new report from the Government Accountability Office stated that Treasury officials were merely posting information on their Web site and issuing press releases rather than engaging in direct talks.
Acting Comptroller Gene Dodaro testified in an oversight hearing on TARP funding on Tuesday that, “Treasury has yet to develop a means of regularly and routinely communicating its activities to relevant congressional committees, members, the public and other critical stakeholders.”
Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the TARP congressional oversight panel, agreed. She complained that multiple inquiries to Treasury have gone unanswered. “Either you get Treasury to get some religion on this point and put their own standards in place, or Congress is forced to step in,” she told the Senate Finance Committee.
Her testimony also mentioned she was “particularly concerned with the opaque nature of the relationship” between AIG, Treasury and the Federal Reserve Banks.