SHAHEEN TO GEITHNER: INCREASE TARP TRANSPARENCY

July 21, 2009

(Washington, DC)-U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today called on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to implement critical transparency measures within the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) following testimony by the Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP), Neil Barofsky, charging that the Treasury Department has been unwilling to adopt important transparency and accountability recommendations. Increased transparency would help ensure that the billions of dollars made available under TARP are invested and returned without additional cost to taxpayers. 

"I voted against releasing $350 billion in additional TARP funds because I did not believe the transparency and accountability measures went far enough, and this report from the Special Inspector General for TARP is troubling," said Shaheen.  "The highest standards of openness, avoidance of even the perception of conflicts, and accountability are needed not only to protect taxpayers, but to ensure support for continued efforts by Treasury and the Federal Reserve to get our financial system working again. I urge Secretary Geithner to implement these transparency recommendations as soon as possible."

The full text of the letter sent today follows:

July 21, 2009

The Honorable Timothy Geithner
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20220

Dear Secretary Geithner:

This morning Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, testified in Congress about SIGTARP's recommendations relating to the need for more transparency in TARP programs and for an informational wall within the private firms which have been hired to make investment decisions for the Public-Private Investment Program. In his testimony, the Special Inspector General indicated that the Department of Treasury was unwilling to implement these recommendations. I believe the SIGTARP's recommendations are necessary to protect taxpayers.

As you know, in January I voted against releasing $350 billion in additional funds for TARP programs because I did not believe there were adequate protections for taxpayers.  As a new United States Senator, it was difficult to vote against the wishes of my President and my Senate leadership, but I felt strongly that more transparency, protections against potential conflicts of interest, and accountability were needed before we put more taxpayers' money at risk.

The highest standards of openness, avoidance of even the perception of conflicts, and accountability are needed not only to protect taxpayers, but to ensure support for continued efforts by Treasury and the Federal Reserve to get our financial system working again. Unemployment has doubled in my home state in the last year as more and more businesses announce layoffs and small businesses close their doors. Almost every day I hear from a New Hampshire constituent who asks, "Why is the federal government bailing out big banks but doing nothing to help my business?" I understand the central importance of credit to the entire economy, but lack of the strongest protections for taxpayers only serves to undermine the support of the American people for the aggressive actions necessary to help financial markets fully recover.

I urge you to reconsider your position on the recommendations of the Special Inspector General and implement these recommendations as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Jeanne Shaheen

United States Senator

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