Unprecedented Transparency From the Treasury

In a day and age when confidence is shaken by the daily doldrums of the markets, and a bullish day is celebrated as some form of stimulus bill, the recent actions by the Treasury and the Obama administration are welcomed. The treasury announced the launch of a website - FinancialStability.gov - where they have started to provided unprecendented transparency into the financial transactions conducted by the government on the road to stabilizing the financial system. For starters, they list all the money doled out as of March, 2009, through the $700B Trouble Asset Relief Program Act passed by congress last year. They specify not only which financial institutions receive the funds - but also how much they got, the date of the transaction, etc. They even included a nice interactive map of the United States that makes it easy to understand. For the more ‘detail-hungry’ among us, that prefer more arcane documents with all the nitty-gritty financial gobblygoop, they have also released transaction reports, section 105 reports to congress about the TARP program, Tranche Reports and more. Not satisfied ? Want to see the actual documents/contracts signed between each individual TARP recipient and Treasury, including signatures? No problem, they even have a menu item for you too. Don’t believe me? Look at the agreement with JPMorgan Chase for yourself. Please, dig in and find some interesting stuff. Post it in the comments and I will update this post. I know that when I get some time, I most definitely will. If I were to see Timothy Geithner tomorrow, I would first congratulate him on the outstanding job of opening up these documents to the public and making them easily accessible - not just accessible. The second thing I would do is ask him, ‘why did you guys spend $15.5M in Jan. 2009 on ‘Non-Personnel Expenses’ and $37.6M in Feb. 2009 on the same line item for TARP Administration (see Section 105 Congressional Report for Feb. 03, 2009 - page 7 of 16)?’. Also, what on earth are ‘Other Services’ - that seems to be the bulk of the ‘Non-Personnel Expenses’.