The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing today to discuss the release of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Assets Relief Program’s (SIGTARP) quarterly report. Additionally, a summary of a survey sent by SIGTARP to 360 financial institutions receiving TARP funding was provided to Treasury yesterday and concludes that such financial institutions are “able to provide insights into their actual or planned use of TARP funds” even if they do not segregate or track usage on a dollar-for-dollar basis. This finding is somewhat at odds with Treasury’s position that it would be difficult and ineffective to have financial institutions report on their use of TARP funds.
In his prepared opening statement for today's hearing, Chairman Towns stated that “[t]here is no evidence that Treasury has made any attempt to determine whether TARP funding has resulted in increased lending and whether that has had any effect on reducing unemployment.” He expressed concern that the lack of transparency required by Treasury is impeding the ability of Congress and American taxpayers to measure the success of the TARP.
The sole witness at the hearing was Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for TARP. His testimony began with a summary of the report and discussed the results of the voluntary responses from the financial institutions. In response to questioning from the Committee, Mr. Barofsky went into further detail regarding the various other audits SIGTARP is performing, including an audit of AIG and its use of TARP funds. He fielded questions regarding the scope of the TARP program spending and valuations of assets guaranteeing or serving as collateral for TARP lending and funding from Treasury.