by Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN)
Yesterday, a report was issued by the special inspector overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) highlighting multiple problems with the Treasury’s implementation of the federal bailout program. Notably, the inspector reported that the American taxpayer is “increasingly exposed to losses and fraud.”
While this is not a surprising conclusion, it reinforces the inherent problems of government intervention in the private sector and demonstrates once again that proper oversight of this program was seriously lacking in the past. It is also why I voted against releasing the additional $350 billion in bailout money earlier this year.
The report also noted that the Treasury Department is not taking appropriate actions to ensure that all recipients of bailout funds are accounting for their use of taxpayer dollars. This is unacceptable.
As you may remember, I was also the lead Republican co-sponsor of a bill giving much broader oversight authority to the special inspector in order to help eliminate waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars being spent under this program. This common-sense bill was recently passed by Congress, and today’s report only reinforces the importance of strengthening our oversight efforts.
When the federal government is literally spending billions of taxpayer dollars, it is critical we have the most stringent oversight possible. And while we have a long way to go, it is important to note this type of oversight is underway, but more importantly, will be strengthened when the bill I co-sponsored is signed into law.