Oops. Congress finally has bestirred itself after the administration used $350 billion in ways different from what it originally promised, and then required nothing of the banks upon which it was showering the cash. Better late than never I suppose. Reports the Associated Press:
Lawmakers are turning up the heat on banks that have received money from the Treasury Department's $700 billion rescue fund after the Associated Press reported that they wouldn't say how they are using the money. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said Tuesday that they will propose legislation next month to force companies that receive money from the fund to report how they have spent it. The legislation would also prohibit them from spending the taxpayer dollars on lobbying or political contributions. It would also apply to some recipients of the Federal Reserve's emergency lending programs. The legislation was introduced earlier this year, but the Senate did not take it up. The sponsors have long said they plan to pursue it when the 111th Congress convenes Jan. 6. "At present, we don't know whether these companies are using these funds to fly on private jets, attend lavish conferences or lobby Congress," Feinstein said in a statement.Maybe next time Congress won't let itself be stampeded by an administration in panic to grant largely unreviewable authority to dispense hundreds of billions of dollars to a bunch of people who it turns out had no real idea what they were doing.