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A billion here, a billion there ...

January 5, 2009
The Daily Mining Gazette

Hundreds of billions of dollars of our money is being spent to "bail out" big financial institutions. You'd think that would entitle taxpayers to know at least something about who's getting the money and how it is being spent.

Wrong, according to just about everyone involved in the transactions. With some exceptions, such as the $85 billion provided to insurance giant AIG, federal agencies have clammed up about the money. And according to an investigation by The Associated Press, big banks that could be identified as recipients of federal aid either won't talk or claim not to know how the money is being spent.

In other words, there is no accountability regarding the biggest government intervention in financial markets in history.

Some national news organizations have filed lawsuits demanding information about how the money is spent. Under the federal Freedom of Information Act, there is no doubt in our minds that the courts will rule against the government.

Clearly, the bureaucrats responsible know without being told by a court that they are wrong in withholding the information. That raises the possibility that they may not comply even with court-ordered disclosure - and that would be very, very bad. In terms of our nation's future, it would be a catastrophe rivaling the financial meltdown itself.

Congress should step in to avoid a complete meltdown involving abuse of the public's trust. Both the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department should be ordered to provide full disclosure.



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