Yesterday’s Washington Post had a chilling article about the trillion dollars in bailout money. It is, lacking a better word, rogue — there is no real oversight committee or audit rules in place. The key watchdog roles remain unfilled.
In the six weeks since lawmakers approved the Treasury’s massive bailout of financial firms, the government has poured money into the country’s largest banks, recruited smaller banks into the program and repeatedly widened its scope to cover yet other types of businesses, from insurers to consumer lenders.
Along the way, the Bush administration has committed $290 billion of the $700 billion rescue package.
Yet for all this activity, no formal action has been taken to fill the independent oversight posts established by Congress when it approved the bailout to prevent corruption and government waste. Nor has the first monitoring report required by lawmakers been completed, though the initial deadline has passed.
“It’s a mess,” said Eric M. Thorson, the Treasury Department’s inspector general, who has been working to oversee the bailout program until the newly created position of special inspector general is filled. “I don’t think anyone understands right now how we’re going to do proper oversight of this thing.”
Why am I not surprised at all by this?
Bailout Lacks Oversight Despite Billions Pledged
Watchdog Panel Is Empty; Report Is Unfinished
Amit R. Paley
Washington Post, November 13, 2008; A01