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« Larry Summers Has A Moment With The Code Pink Protesters (Video) | Main | Elizabeth Warren Suggests The Bailout Road Less Traveled (Video) »

GWB Did Something Right: Meet Your New Best Friend Neil Barofsky

Give GW some credit; he got one right.  Appointing a prosecutor to a regulatory oversight function is usually going to mean a lot of audits.  Egggsssaaaactly. Neil Barofsky is the Treasury's Special Inspector General of TARP appointed by George W. Bush to serve several watchdog functions. Barofsky works in concert with Elizabeth Warren but operates independently of her congressionally appointed commission.

I'm still endeavoring to determine what kind of actual power Barofsky wields with his charter at Treasury. (He works in the same building as Geithner. The enemy within.)  Odds say he is ultimately toothless not unlike Elizabeth Warren and the panel she chairs, but it does not preclude him from making some noise occasionally.  And he did today.

First some background from the NY Post on his appointment.

And now from Bloomberg today:

The Treasury’s chief watchdog for the U.S. financial rescue program is probing whether American International Group Inc. paid more than necessary to banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. after the insurer’s bailout.

Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, began an audit last week into whether there were attempts by New York-based AIG or the government to reduce the payments, according to an April 3 letter to Representative Elijah Cummings. The Maryland Democrat requested the probe last month along with 26 other members of Congress.

“To what extent did AIG pay counterparty claims at 100 percent of face value and was any attempt made to renegotiate and close out these claims with ‘haircuts?’” Barofsky wrote. “Questions concerning whether AIG paid more than necessary to counterparties and whether Treasury adequately monitored such payments are clearly relevant.”

Barofsky will also examine if there was any review about the ability of banks “such as Goldman Sachs” to sustain losses on the swaps, he said in the letter.

The Government Accountability Office said last month that the Treasury should demand that AIG seek concessions from banks as a condition of the latest U.S. aid.

“If such concessions are not considered to be in the government’s interest, the reasons should be clearly articulated and explained,” the congressional auditors said. 

bank bailouts, bailouts, bailout news

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Reader Comments (15)

Whether he's got real power or not, at least he's getting attention with these questions - that's a great start!! I offer thanks to GW for his great appointment (and I only threw up a little bit while doing it...)
Apr 9, 2009 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterAngry Jones
I'll wait to join the club until I see some indictments.
Apr 9, 2009 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterspideydouble
Small consolation from the Worst President Ever.
Apr 9, 2009 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterSomething Polish
It was sarcasm. Perhaps not well-delivered. I agree that the jury is out on Barofsky, but he's making the right moves so far. I am guilty of always looking for bright spots in the sea of pain that is my life on this blog.
Apr 10, 2009 at 12:34 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Just turn your frown upside down! Think Pain Good....Happiness BAD....and all will appear to be well with the world! Corporate America would call that "thinking outside the box" or a "paradigm shift"!
Apr 10, 2009 at 1:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterAin't Bullshittin'

I actually try that sometimes, but if you think about it that's the beginning of insanity. It becomes a form dis-assocaition where things aren't what they really are.

Remember when I used the puppy photos for a few AIG stories. That was my attempt at disassociation from the AIG pain. Actually worked for me, I think.

Nobody commented on teh photos so I assume it appeared borderline insane to the outsider.

I'm not sure anyone can understand what it does to your pysche when you do nothing but read the shit I read all day. I certainly wasn't prepared for it in any way as I anticipated launching the site.

I did not factor the toll it could take on my spirit. So sometimes I have to step away for awhile, which is what I dd today.

I still searched and read the normal amount, but not having to present it or write about it helped me decompress a bit.

I already feel better about jumping back into it for tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who has become a regular commenter. We get great traffic numbers here, for a brand new blog especially, but we have very few comments. Something like 100 comments for every 10,000 unique visitors so the fact that a few of you make sure to comment on the stories means a lot to me.

Thre are about 10 of you regular commenters and your opinions help form the character around here. Your dedication has not gone unnoticed by me.
Apr 10, 2009 at 2:21 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Question to all Readers.

We had a traffic spike tonight between 6-8pm. About 1500 unique visiotrs in that 2 hour period and then it slowed back to normal. It wasn't from an online referral of any sort becuase I can see every one of those 600 or so links to different stories o the site.

Instead it was a huge rush of visitors all going to our home page. And this means we were mentioned somehwere on TV or the radio, so if anyone has any info let me know.

Thanks and best to all,

Apr 10, 2009 at 2:31 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
What's the best thing that ever happened? Hard to say, but you got to put this on the short list:


a pie in the face would have been better, but what the hell.
Apr 10, 2009 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterSomething Polish

"Instead it was a huge rush of visitors all going to our home page. And this means we were mentioned somehwere on TV or the radio, so if anyone has any info let me know."

Cassano mentioned you by name at his AIG going away party. I'm kidding of course. I let you know if I hear of anything that may have led to that traffic spike.
Apr 10, 2009 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterspideydouble
DB...I think it's the Joe 6 Packs telling their co-workers about the site. I have been passing it out to folks I know and they are flat overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of the situation. It's astounding to think this can be happening in the United States of America.....but it is. I regret to admit I feel we have seen our Nations best days and they are behind us. My spirit is also broken for my Country but I still have Faith in GOD. This too shall pass but the pain and suffering will endureth....Remember it took the Isrealites 40 years to get out of the desert. We may be that Isrealite generation of our times.......When men abandon God.....they are lead down a path that leads to destruction. Repent and He will heal the land and return it to prosperity. If you are not a believer, I do not mean to offend. However, the truth shall set us free and it's about time someone began telling it!!!!!!
Apr 10, 2009 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterAin't Bullshittin'
Happy Easter suckers. The Bailout Bunny left you a tasty little treat over at FDIC.gov: "Public Comments" on the "Legacy Loan Program" (a much more lady-like name than "pee-pip", Mr. Geithner). Apparently this forum was intended for bankers and mortgage investors, but some real live peasants hopped by and dropped some nice little eggs in Sheila's basket.

Take this egg from Scott Tolbert of Honolulu, HI for example:

"If I could get a 4% refinance of my two mortgages, I could rent out the condo that now I'm living in and move to a more affordable place.

However, I can't get 4% on a 'business loan' because I am not some kind of Wall Street big wig.

Instead, I will continue to liquidate all of my wife's retirement savings (mine are already gone), at 30% losses, to pay the above rate mortgage until all the retirement money is gone. Then, we declare bankruptcy.

Thank you oh wise leaders of our Republic....

Thank you for ruining our lives."

Apr 12, 2009 at 1:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames H
Here's another choice selection from "Forrest Seale of Los Alamos, New Mexico" (pseudonymn?):

"I'm ready to retire, and my net worth has been crushed by this mess. Even though I played by the rules, invested as my government suggested, and was conservative with my finances, I will have to keep on working well into my 70's because of these greedy people. I have no desire to help them in any way, and if pushed I will find a way to even the score."


I hear you, Forrest! That is some sharp stuff. Mighty sharp.
Apr 12, 2009 at 1:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames H
Another doozie from Mr. Peter Sloane, an "involuntary financier" from cyberspace. HE gets it, so what's Turbo's problem?

Apr 12, 2009 at 1:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames H
"Anonymous" from nowhere makes this astute observation:

"Most of you that have never really had to work and hold a job to make a living don't have a clue.

Yours in poverty and debt
A True Bill Paying Saving American
Name witheld cause you will probably hold this against me, somehow-someway"


Tsk, tsk, Mr. Anonymous. This will go straight onto your Permanent Record. Sheila will NOT be happy with you.
Apr 12, 2009 at 1:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames H
Ah, the best of the bunch might be this one from Mr. Benjamin Dover (just call him "Ben"). Of the toxic...er "legacy" assets, Mr. Dover suggests that they be sold at 120-140% of M2M value "in order to induce the banks to make the sacrifice of parting with these valuable legacies." Well said, Mr. Ben Dover.

Apr 12, 2009 at 1:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames H

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