U.S. lawmakers seek database to track bailout banks

WASHINGTON Mon Mar 2, 2009 4:48pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bipartisan bill that would consolidate and centralize data about how banks use the government's $700 billion financial bailout was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday.

Democrat Carolyn Maloney and Republican Peter King, both from New York, said the legislation aims to create a public database on the web so money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) can be easily tracked.

"Currently, reported TARP data are buried in filings with over 25 different federal agencies, including the Security and Exchanges Commission, the Federal Reserve, FDIC, and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission," Maloney said in a statement. "What's more, the data are encased within incompatible systems and formats."

Under the bill, the Treasury Department, which manages TARP, would be required to also post on the site corporate press releases, news articles, indexes and other third-party data to build "as full and complete a profile as possible" of how banks use the TARP money, Maloney said.

Currently, the Treasury Department posts copies of its TARP-related announcements and agreements at www.treasury.gov/initiatives/eesa/.

Lawmakers from both political parties have criticized the government's lax control of how TARP recipients are spending the billions of dollars in aid meant to unfreeze the credit markets. Last week, Senator John Kerry, a Democrat, said he planned to offer legislation that would prohibit TARP recipients from hosting or paying for lavish conferences and events.

The House bill was posted here

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