... to release the other half of the bailout money. The rule was the Treasury could spend the first $350 billion but would need to approach Congress when it needed the other half.
Lawmakers may attach more strings this time. An oversight panel last week complained that Treasury was giving them the runaround.
"The American people have a right to know how their taxpayer dollars are being used, and so far, they have not gotten the transparency and accountability they deserve," the report said.
One issue that bugged them: "How Is Treasury Deciding Which Institutions Receive the Money?"
"8. How Is Treasury Deciding Which Institutions Receive the Money? The Panel's eighth question concerned Treasury's decisions about which institutions would receive TARP money. In response, Treasury referred the Panel to Treasury's website, which showed the application form for TARP funds. The Panel was not seeking the information about the technical process for applying to participate in the progress, but rather whether Treasury's approach to advance taxpayer money to all healthy banks, regardless of the bank's business profile, constitutes an effective use of funds. If the goal of the program was to stabilize financial markets, then Treasury should have standards for determining which banks are significant participants in the capital markets. If the goal of the program was to increase consumer and small business lending, then Treasury should have standards for determining which banks are active small business and consumer lenders or have committed to lend to small businesses and consumers. "