The Congressional Oversight Panel, the group charged with overseeing how the federal government allocates $700 billion to prop up the nation's financial institutions, supports greater public disclosure of how the program is working, but the panel itself often can't get the information it needs to do its job, members said today. Damon Silvers, the oversight panel's deputy chairman, told the Joint Economic Committee that he and other panel members are waiting for Treasury Secretary Geithner to appear before them to explain how the Obama administration plans to help failing banks. Among the things the panel still needs to know is how the administration plans to deal with the toxic assets like failed loans and foreclosures that are bogging down banks, panel members said.
The oversight panel had asked Henry Paulson, Treasury secretary in the Bush administration and the chief architect of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, for the same information but never heard back from him, Silvers said. The bottom line, panel members said, is that even though about $300 billion has been spent and another $350 billion has been made available to bail out financial institutions, those who are supposed to be overseeing the program lack the information they need to perform their duties, Silvers said.