Job Well Done: Neil Barofsky, TARP Watchdog

Check out Gretchen Morgenson’s column in the Sunday Times:

“The American taxpayer will lose a rare straight shooter when Neil M. Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, leaves his post on March 30. In his frequent testimony before Congress and in the nine quarterly reports and 13 audits his office has published, Mr. Barofsky has served taxpayers well by speaking truth to the powers at the Treasury.

This has often put him at odds with the Treasury officials whose work he is charged with overseeing — a natural consequence for any watchdog with teeth. Using facts, figures and extensive interviews, Mr. Barofsky has questioned the effectiveness of the administration’s loan modification program and the Treasury’s initial refusal to require institutions that received taxpayer-financed bailouts to account for their use of TARP funds.

He has also criticized the bank-friendly terms of the rescue in 2008 of the American International Group; that deal was led by Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, who at the time was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New YorkUnlike others in Washington, Mr. Barofsky has also spoken passionately about the continuing problems posed by too-big-to-fail financial institutions.”

This is more than mere noise: Barofsky actually saved the US taxpayers some big dough:

“In addition to his candor, Mr. Barofsky delivered a solid prosecutorial record. Since it was created in the fall of 2008, his office has won criminal convictions of 18 people, helped keep $555 million in taxpayer funds from being lost to fraud and provided the Treasury with 68 recommendations to protect taxpayers from losses in its programs. The office — known as Sigtarp, for special inspector general for the TARP program — continues to work on 153 civil and criminal investigations, including 74 involving executives and senior officers at financial institutions who received or applied for TARP money”

Nice to see when someone actually dies their job well . . .

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Source:
TARP’s Watchdog: A Tough Act to Follow
GRETCHEN MORGENSON
NYT, March 19, 2011
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/business/20gret.html

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