Toothless Watchdogs Not Sure Where TARP Money Went

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2009 3:33 AM CDT
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner meets with experts to discuss the oversight of the Troubled Assets Relief Program at the Treasury Department earlier this year.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Anybody seen $700 billion? The government watchdogs charged with overseeing TARP spending don't seem able to answer even basic questions about where the money went, Chris Adams writes at McClatchy. A special inspector general, a congressional panel, and eight other inspectors general are supposed to be keeping track of the funds, but they haven't been given the tools to do the job properly, Adams writes.

The congressional panel doesn't have subpoena power, meaning that officials from the Federal Reserve or Treasury can't be compelled to testify. Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky can subpoena federal or bank officials, but his recommendation that banks detail how they spend TARP funds was rejected. The lack of transparency from the banks and Treasury means the "very credibility" of the program is at stake, he warned in a recent report.