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TARP Oversight, or lack thereof

April 10, 2009

Update: I found another site which had also been keeping a close eye on the FSOB meetings. VerumSerum saw the same late-arriving, hastily posted information that I did.

How closely does Congress watch our money? When Congress passed the Troubled Asset Relief Program, they said oversight would be an important element of the program. One of the bodies they created to help keep Congress, as well as the public, informed was the Financial Stability Oversight Board (FSOB). Here’s how FSOB describes its purpose:

The Financial Stability Oversight Board (FSOB) was established by section 104 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) to help oversee the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) and other emergency authorities and facilities granted to the Secretary of the Treasury under the EESA to help restore liquidity and stability to the U.S. financial system. 

They even made a nice web site for it: . Bush, Paulson, Bernanke & Co. dutifully set about meeting. You can see exactly what they were talking about here, because the meeting notes are at the bottom of the page. They met 3 times in October, once in November, and twice each in December and January. All of their meetings took around an hour. They met once in February, before Obama was inaugurated.

I started checking the site in March, after HotAir mentioned the site. As late as March 30, there were no minutes posted from Obama-era meetings. Age of Transparency, indeed. Finally, they recently posted minutes from 3 meetings: 2/25, 3/1, and 3/19. So it’s all good, right?


The 2/25 meeting seems normal enough. The meeting lasted around an hour. Oddly, Tim Geithner wasn’t there.

The 3/1 meeting is odd, in that March 1 fell on a Sunday. I guess they’re working hard for us the taxpayer, right? WRONG. The meeting lasted from 2 to 2:40.  On 4. 9, the meeting minutes said that the meeting was from 11:45 until 12PM.  Why the change?

The 3/19 meeting still says it lasted from 11:45 until 12. That’s 15 minutes of working hard for you. 

Here’s what else is odd. Yesterday, the minutes from this meeting exactly matched the minutes from the 3/1 meeting.  I understand that sometimes people put the wrong link in the wrong place. But why didn’t anyone in Congress or the administration notice that duplication? Aren’t there staffers in Congress, or Congressmen and women, who read the reports they call for? Or is it all just Kabuki to appease the public?

It’s particularly troublesome when the Obama administration changes information on their site, even though it may well be an honest mistake. Obama’s team has a history of editing web sites after being caught with potentially embarrassing information.

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