Today, the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight held a hearing entitled "Oversight of Federal Borrowing and the Use of Federal Monies", to review TARP, its operations, and oversight, specifically, focusing on the role of Federal borrowing, the impact on the national debt, and the protection of public monies. Testifying before the Subcommittee were the following witnesses:
- Gene Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the United States, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
- Neil Barofsky, Special Inspector General, Office of the Special Inspector General, Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP).
Mr. Dodaro stressed that GAO is coordinating its work with the Congressional Oversight Panel and the Special Inspector General for TARP, and is actively meeting with officials from both organizations to share information and coordinate oversight efforts. He reiterated the GAO's recommendations to Treasury, as discussed in GAO's January 30 report, including communicating a clearly articulated strategic vision for TARP and developing and implementing a well-defined and disciplined risk-assessment process.
Mr. Barofsky's testimony described SIGTARP’s mission in overseeing the large sums of money provided under the TARP program as one focused on the following three specific areas:
- Transparency - SIGTARP is using its audit function to bring increased transparency to the TARP, including requiring TARP recipients to report on how they have used or will use TARP funds, as well as analyzing and then reporting to Congress findings, if any, as to what impact, lobbyists or other outside influences had on the TARP application process.
- Coordinated Oversight - SIGTARP and GAO are coordinating monitoring efforts to provide maximum oversight coverage while avoiding unnecessary or duplicative burdens on those charged with managing TARP. In particular, one focus is to increase oversight effectiveness and fraud protections as the programs are developed, "[b]efore the money goes out the door."
- Robust Criminal and Civil Law Enforcement - SIGTARP stands as the sole TARP oversight body with criminal law enforcement authority, and is "[e]xploring task force and similar regional relationships throughout the country to deter criminal activity before it occurs." This includes establishment of a TALF Task Force to identify fraud vulnerabilities in the TALF program and proactively and aggressively investigate any indications of wrongdoing, development of a partnership with the New York High Intensity Financial Crime Area (NYHIFCA) to identify indicators of fraud, as well as proactively monitoring the SIGTARP Hotline for tips about ongoing waste, fraud and abuse in TARP programs.