How's this for "bailout transparency?"



When the Treasury Department's bailout czar provided an update this week on the government's $700 billion plan to rescue troubled financial institutions, he vowed that it would be an "open and transparent program with appropriate oversight.''

The next day, the Treasury Department put out an announcement about a major bailout-related contract with Bank of New York Mellon Corp. that fell short in the transparency department.

The copy of the agreement that was made public had blacked-out paragraphs in the section covering Bank of New York Mellon's compensation. If the Treasury Department is unwilling to disclose the particulars of that contract -- or even the general outline of the compensation scheme -- that raises questions about how it will treat disclosure of other bailout transactions.

The End of Bailout Transparency Already?


  1. Assholes! They’re afraid on one hand that the stockholders will cry “Assholes!” and on the other that their fellow CEOs will learn that they are making a hundred grand less than them.

    This is like some authors talking about book advance.

  2. I am not surprised and neither are you.

    My question is: what are the tools allowing enforcement of said transparency, apart from “…but, …but you said so!”

    I really mean it. Is transparency a condition for a transaction to happen, or not? How do we follow up? What tools do we have? How do we point our finger to criminal activity in a way that will have police/fbi get in their cars and to the crime scene?

    Does anybody know? If you do, please post links to verifiable sources etc.

    Thank you!

  3. Maybe the rates are hidden because someone thinks it would be contributing to “collusion”, I dunno.

    Or, they are rat bastards… either way.

  4. It also reminds one of Google ordering its “publishers” to not tell anyone how much they’re paid.

  5. “blacked-out” is so blase, redacted is a much better word.

    Anyway I find it hard to cry foul. It’s basically a contract and parts of it are going to be confidential at least until everything is finalized.

  6. they’ll be the ones with egg on their faces when they realize that they accidentally used a black highlighter.
    thanks onion.

  7. What they meant is that they are bailing out from all possibility of transparency. Sorry if this wasn’t clear from the start.

  8. Do they WANT congress to pass a law prescribing daily application of baseball bats to the groin of CEOs?

  9. If they’re trying to avoid upsetting/scaring people, they should take a lesson from horror movie directors.

    The monster only becomes more scary when you can’t see it. Being able to see the beast aleviates fear.

    Unless, of course, there’s something really, truely haneous going on. But it’s not like the US Government would ever be involved in something like that, right? Right?

  10. Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act…may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

    I truly don’t understand why your congress keeps putting wording like this into its bills. The Supreme Court is quite happy to determine the constitutionality of any legislation they pass, including the parts that say they can’t.

    Moreover, they’ve proven again and again that they’re willing to do so. Christ, I’m not even an American and I know about Marbury v. Madison.

    All I can assume is there’s such a level of narcissism involved that they’re willing to run off the cliff like Wile E. Coyote solely because they’re the ones involved and they believe that surely they’re more special than every other legislator smacked down over the years.

    1. I truly don’t understand why your congress keeps putting wording like this into its bills.

      The point is not to do something. The point is to appear to do something.

  11. ➤ The point is not to do something. The point is to appear to do something.

    Exactly. Which is why we don’t have a democracy anymore, we have what appears to be a democracy.

    Two choices for president. On the bright side, that’s one more than a dictatorship has.

  12. You fools! This is completely transparent.

    It’s just the kind of transparent you can’t see through.

    Try rubbing some greasy food on it. If the paper goes clear, that’s your window to weight gain success.

    Or something.

  13. @11

    “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”

    This is from the initial bailout proposal, and supposedly removed/altered from the final version.

    I wonder if the blackout has to do with confidentiality laws regarding employee pay. Not that I think this automatically passes the smell test, but there may be a simple explanation for it.

  14. Thanks for posting this, Mark. There have been a few times when I’ve seen or heard news that sounds important but unlikely to get picked up by mainstream sources, think “I should submit this to BoingBoing,” and find out that you’ve already posted it. In case you haven’t guessed, this is one of those times.

  15. Also worth knowing that the reason we have no choice but to subcontract administration of the bailout to the very people who helped create the crisis is because the US Dept. of Treasury has been FEMA-tized — the professionals with depth and experience who used to run it have been let go and been replaced with people of lesser abilities or not replaced at all. (This I gathered from Nobel-winning Paul Krugman on “Fresh Air” today.)

  16. An excellent way to ensure that you overpay for anything is to promise the other side that you’ll be publicizing the terms widely. If you want a good deal, you have to let the other side keep quiet about what a good deal they gave you. If you’re going to make a lot of noise, they’ll want to make sure that you paid the max, so that their other customers (past and future) don’t get mad. Basic negotiation, folks. It’d be more worrying if the terms were public.

  17. DMDuncan, last I checked we had a process that initially involved several choices for president and gradually worked its way down to two.

  18. ANON@26: That’s right. They’re just trying to make sure they spend that money responsibly, right? Nothing to worry about. Go back to sleep, America.

    And remember to do your patriotic duty to spend money you don’t have this Christmas. It’s the American way!

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