Newly approved Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner moved to provide more transparency in the controversial Troubled Assets Relief Program by posting investment contracts on the Internet.
Geithner met with a set of outside experts on Wednesday to discuss oversight of the TARP and ways to increase accountability in the program. In line with that goal, the Treasury Department also instituted a new policy of posting investment contracts for future completed transactions to the Treasury's Web site within five to 10 business days.
Among the contracts posted Wednesday were agreements with AIG, Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Chrysler, Citigroup, GM, GMAC, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, State Street and Wells Fargo.
"Today, we are taking a step toward increased transparency by committing to place all of our TARP investment agreements on the Internet so that taxpayers can see how their money is being spent and the terms these institutions must agree to before we invest taxpayer money," said Geithner in a statement.
He also met with several individuals charged with providing outside oversight of the program to review efforts taken to date to improve transparency and accountability. Participants included Government Accountability Office acting comptroller general Gene Dodaro and TARP special inspector general Neil Barofsky. It also included several Congressional Oversight Panel members: Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren, AFL-CIO associate general counsel Damon Silvers, superintendent of banks in the state of New York Richard Neiman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and former Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H.
Separately, leaders of the Senate Finance Committee introduced legislation to strengthen oversight of the TARP, requiring any private entity that receives TARP funds to give the GAO access to its books and records. "This is a commonsense measure to establish accountability for the use of the public's money," said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.
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