Maloney-King bill to increase TARP accountability passes House

Dec 2, 2009
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – A bill sponsored by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) to increase the public accessibility of data filed by companies that received funding from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) passed the House unanimously today.

H.R. 1242 would require the Department of the Treasury to put all TARP recipients’ reports—currently spread among 25 different government agencies using incompatible formats and systems—in a standardized database language so that TARP funds can be accessible, traceable, and fully transparent. Such a system would be the most efficient mechanism for oversight, audits, and investigations.

“Today, the House has taken the Washington buzzword of ‘transparency’ and put it into practice,” Rep. Maloney said. “We must require the use of the technological tools that are available today. In a day and age when UPS and Federal Express can tell you where a package is anywhere on the globe-- and post it to a public website-- the Dept. of the Treasury can’t do the same thing with the massive packages of federal dollars backing up financial institutions. My bill will create a sophisticated and complete data stream to provide a complete picture of how TARP funds are being used in near-real time.”

“If we’re going to give billions of dollars in TARP money to banks, it’s important that every dollar is accounted for,” said Rep. King. “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.”

The Treasury Department will also be required to create a database system that will combine the government data with data that are collected by independent third party sources including corporate press releases, news articles, indexes, corporate profiles, and other non-government financial information.  By combining government and third party data, a complete profile of the institution’s financial application of TARP funds will be created.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 421 to 0. It is supported by groups ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Heritage Foundation to the Project on Government Oversight and OMB Watch.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has sponsored the companion bill in the Senate, S. 910.

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For complete text of the bill, click here.