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Watchdog: More transparency needed on use of bailout money

December 4, 2008 by  

How is your money being spent?Taxpayers have not been provided with clear information about how their money is being used as part of the rescue of the financial services industry, a congressional watchdog has claimed.

According to the Government Accountability Office, the Troubled Asset Relief Program demands more oversight by the Treasury than it is currently being given.

In a report, the GAO recommended that the Treasury collaborate with bank regulators to determine whether they are following the requirements of TARP, helping to ensure integrity, accountability and transparency.

The group also called for a stronger communication strategy from the government which would clearly spell out any changes, "to avoid information gaps and shocks."

Some lawmakers and citizens have expressed surprise that Paulson has shifted the focus of TARP away from purchasing bad debts from banks – which was one of its original stated purposes. Instead, money is being directed toward buying equity stakes in financial companies.

A third recommendation made by the GAO involved the creation of a "definitive transition plan" for the Treasury, which would help smooth the change to a new administration led by Barack Obama.

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