We profiled Neil Barofsky here the other week. He's the Special Inspector General charged with overseeing the $700 billion being used in TARP.
And Barofsky's office (SIGTARP) has just released its second report to congress.
He talked about it on Morning Edition today:
"Sadly, it's almost limitless the type of opportunities for fraud when you have $3 trillion going out the door."
In addition to looking for fraud, SIGTARP is pressing Treasury to make more information public. For instance SIGTARP, apparently frustrated with Treasury's arguments that it's hard for banks to say what they are doing with the TARP money, has asked the banks directly for this information. The report released today says:
Although the results of the survey still need to be analyzed, one thing is clear:
Treasury's arguments that such an accounting was impractical, impossible, or a
waste of time because of the inherent fungibility of money were unfounded.
Section 4 runs through SIGTARP's concerns about the plan to buy up toxic assets. It's a pretty good read, including some Planet Money-style acting out of how it might be abused.