Senators want more oversight over rescue plan

Two senators have introduced a bill to strengthen oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) by the Government Accountability Office. The legislation would require private entities that receive federal funds through the Treasury Department’s $700 billion financial rescue program to give GAO access to their books and records.

The Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont. ) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), introduced the Troubled Asset Relief Program Enhancement Act on Jan. 28 to ensure that the assessments GAO  provides every 60 days are based on more information.

“This is a commonsense measure to establish accountability for the use of the public’s money,” Grassley said.

In the bill that established TARP, Congress said GAO had to conduct a regular review of the program. However, Congress did not make sure the GAO would have access to the kinds of information it needs to really assess how the money is being used and the effectiveness of how the money is distributed, he said.

Combined with the special inspector general position created for the TARP program, the legislation to expand GAO’s oversight would assure “the climate of transparency and accountability,” Baucus said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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