Reps. Maloney and King Introduce TARP Accountability and Disclosure Act
Bill consolidates data reporting requirements into centralized public database
Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) are introducing the "TARP Accountability and Disclosure Act" (H.R. 1242) to increase oversight and ensure transparency in the spending of the $700 million in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) approved by Congress last fall.
"I am tired of reading report after report about the questionable spending by financial intuitions, who have been the recipients of taxpayer dollars, and not having a way to fully track how it is spent," Rep. Maloney said. "We must use the technological tools that are available in this day and age that will provide a complete picture of how TARP funds are being used in near real time. Such a system would be the most efficient mechanism for oversight, audits and investigations. Currently, reported TARP data are buried in filings with over 25 different federal agencies, including the Security and Exchanges Commission, the Federal Reserve, FDIC, and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. What's more, the data are encased within incompatible systems and formats."
"If we're going to give billions of dollars in TARP money to banks, it's important that every dollar is accounted for," Rep. King said. "The misuse of TARP funds was unacceptable and unfair to American taxpayers. This bill will add transparency so that TARP funds can be traced and banks can be held accountable."
H.R. 1242 requires the creation of a centralized, web-accessible public database system in a consistent, standardized format within the Department of Treasury, so that TARP funds will be easily visible and traceable. Treasury will be required to combine the reported, government data with data that are collected by independent sources including corporate press releases, news articles, indexes, corporate profiles, and other non-governmental financial information. The compilation of government and third party data will create as full and complete a profile as possible of the institution's financial application of TARP funds. It also provides the crucial ability to monitor inconsistencies in near real time that could indicate the misuse of such funds at both the corporate and individual officer level.
"H.R. 1242 will provide the kind of transparency President Obama has promised the American people: a real ability to monitor and account for the use of tax dollars," Rep. Maloney concluded.