Neil Barofsky is the man who tracks the historic bailout known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. The 39-year-old special inspector general monitors a dozen separate bailout-related programs that now account for nearly $3 trillion in financial commitments. A former federal prosecutor, Barofsky has subpoena power and has launched about three dozen investigations since being named to the post in December 2008. In an audit released in July, Barofsky made clear that he was intent on demanding transparency from all quarters -- including the U.S. Treasury. His next audit is due in October. During an interview with the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, Barofsky made some striking observations. Among them were:
- He found hundreds of banks capable of tracking their use of the TARP money - despite claims by the U.S. Treasury that the task was impossible.
- If the purpose of the TARP rescue was to increase lending, it has failed.
- The U.S. financial system, now dependent on bigger and fewer banks, is shakier than ever.
WATCH the Huffington Post Investigative Fund's interview: