Two months ago, we testified in support of a bill in the House (H.R. 1242) that would require the Treasury to create an almost-real-time database of TARP information. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Maloney, put together a large, bipartisan set of co-sponsors, and yesterday the bill passed the House unanimously. This bill continues to be an important step towards informing the public and the government about how TARP is working.
The TARP is one of the more complex and confusing programs in place today, and there is very little opportunity for observers to make sense of it. Even the Treasury doesn't have a comprehensive source for the information about the funds disbursed by TARP – and they administer the program. Creating the H.R. 1242 database would make this information available, giving the Treasury the same kinds of tools and information that Wall Street uses to analyze the financial sector. Especially in the realm of financial oversight, it's easy to see that this database will be an incredible benefit for the Special IG.
In our testimony, we called for the bill to include an explicit requirement for public access, and we are happy to see that this simple requirement is now in the bill. Providing for public access to the information will open doors for public watchdogs and provide vital transparency to the TARP.
The bill now moves to the Senate, where we hope that a similar bipartisan coalition can move transparency forward. We'll keep you posted.