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Should Bailed-out Banks Disclose What They Do With Money?

Out of the 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money, none would answer four simple questions posed by the Associated Press: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what's the plan for the rest?

When asked, a spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in taxpayer money, said: "We've not given any accounting of, 'Here's how we're doing it.' We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to." The $700 billion given to the Treasury Department to buy stock in banks is intended to encourage banks to lend money. Yet lawmakers put in no mechanism or consequences to make sure that happens.

Meanwhile, the AP also reports that the 116 banks that have received a bailout spent $1.6 billion on top-tier executive compensation in 2007. So while their banks faced impending collapse and a need for billions in bailouts, the leaders of the banks received millions in salaries. And now — they won't even tell us where our money is going! I think some executives, and lawmakers who let the bailout go through without any strings, have some explaining to do.


Join The Conversation
stephley stephley 8 years
"it would give away a marketing strategy." Who would want the marketing strategies of banks that are so screwed up?
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
"Is there any good argument for why we wouldn't make them disclose that?" The only thing I can think of for why they wouldn't disclose what they are doing with the money is if it would give away a marketing strategy. But they ought to be able to answer in general words like we will use $XXX million for this, so much for that, and we won't be using any money for executive bonuses.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
oh get over it!!!
wren1 wren1 8 years
WTF? Yes they should say how they're spending the money :mob:
stephley stephley 8 years
"This is the government's fault for not putting any kind of guideline into place." If you can retroactively take away basic rights by amending the California constitution, surely you can retroactively demand the banks account for the money they were given.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
Uh, yeah.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
organic - you mean to say our perfect government dropped the ball on something??? Never!!! :oy: I hope there is going to be some accountability, but I fear there will be none.
piper23 piper23 8 years
Its the fault of everyone of the politicians that voted for this bailout. That list includes Pres-elect Obama. I'm not sure if he can go back and change the rules when he's in the oval office. It would be nice though. Otherwise, they pretty much got a blank check. That is going to be some New Year's Party at AIG.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
The federal government has done such a wonderful job in their oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, I can't wait to see what a stellar job they'll do overseeing more banks.
girlgreen girlgreen 8 years
How was the bailout money administered with no stipulation that its usage be accounted for? As much as I loathe the companies staying tight lipped, why should they talk if they're not forced to? This is the government's fault for not putting any kind of guideline into place.
PinkNC PinkNC 8 years
Absolutely!! Anytime the government lends out money or gives money away, they need to make sure that the people they're giving it too account for every bit that they take. If the companies are doing the wrong type of things with the money, such as things that they didn't inform the government that they would be doing with the funds... Example: Giving the CEO's and other people in high positions a BONUS payday! ...then I think the companies should be fined for it in some major way.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I read the AP article on another site and I was so furious. There should be accountability. Ugh. These few lines in the article really got my blood going for some reason: Others, such as Morgan Stanley spokeswoman Carissa Ramirez, offered to discuss the matter with reporters on condition of anonymity. When AP refused, Ramirez sent an e-mail saying: "We are going to decline to comment on your story." "We're not sharing any other details. We're just not at this time," said Wendy Walker, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Comerica Inc., which received $2.25 billion from the government. Heine, the New York Mellon Corp. spokesman who said he wouldn't share spending specifics, added: "I just would prefer if you wouldn't say that we're not going to discuss those details." What's the big secret???? I would love to know, but since the government isn't holding them accountable they could be having spa days for all we know. Here's hoping once Obama gets into office they will have to start being accountable for what they are using the money for.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
well i would be more interested in the companies being bailed out since their execs get exorbitant amoutns of money while their employees are being fired left, right and centre.
stephley stephley 8 years
Welfare recipients are tracked pretty carefully as it is - they go through interviews, home visits, documentation requirements and more before they get money.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
I think this is a great idea. All welfare recipients should have to itemize every cent of government money that they have spent, all subject to bureaucratic approval, of course.
piper23 piper23 8 years
Well, geeze, I just can't summon the outrage over the bailoutees not giving an accounting of the money. I expected nothing less since their accounting skills before the bailout was so stellar. I am outraged that they got the bailout in the firt place. Never should have happened but such is life.
stephley stephley 8 years
Well, geez, why don't we let people threatened with foreclosure relax this joyous holiday season too?
piper23 piper23 8 years
Did the government stipulate that they had to give an accounting for what they are doing with the moolah? I highly doubt it. So let the bailoutees enjoy the Christmas season without having to worry about all of that pesky paperwork.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
i was just about to ask the same question michelin.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Is there any good argument for why we wouldn't make them disclose that?
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
"Yes yes yes times infinity plus a million." Incidentally, that's about how much of our money they're getting without feeling the need to account to us for it.
chasingjamie chasingjamie 8 years
Yes yes yes times infinity plus a million.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Yes, of course they should! Accountability is a huge issue!
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I like the picture, because it isn't true. Socialism isn't saving capitalism. As to the question, I agree with Steph in that we need to know where every cent is being spent. It's our money, and we have the right to know what's being done with it.
stephley stephley 8 years
YES YES YES, HELL YES! Damn straight, absolutely, no question about it. If you don't want to tell the treasury what you're doing with taxpayer money, give it back and handle your own mess.
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