What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 31, 2010

Jack Kelly Sunday

This week's Jack Kelly column is on TARP, a recent report on it by it's overseer Neil Barofsky, and what that report says about TARP-fraud.

Recently whenever a conservative mentions "TARP", it's done with derision as with this blurb from Pat Toomey's campaign website:
In a press release on Saturday, Rep. Joe Sestak accused U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey of supporting President Bush’s fiscally irresponsible policies, but it was Joe Sestak (RC #681) and Arlen Specter (RC #213) who supported President Bush’s largest spending package—the $700 billion TARP boondoggle—not Pat Toomey. [emphasis added.]
How odd, in light of that, to see Jack Kelly, conservative columnist at the P-G write:
TARP consists of 13 programs, for which $474.8 billion has been obligated. TARP recipients have paid back much of it, and $178.4 billion in TARP funds remain outstanding.

On Oct. 26, the second anniversary of TARP, Mr. Barofsky issued a report on the program to Congress. It concludes that, while TARP prevented financial and economic collapse, it has made possible the payment of record bonuses to Wall Street bankers, failed to increase lending to small businesses and fallen short in reducing unemployment or preserving home ownership. [emphasis added.]
I wish I could have read something like this a month or so ago. Then we could asked Pat Toomey about the "boondoggle" that "prevented financial and economic collapse."

Now look closer at the report's criticism. It's about the Wall Street bonuses and banks' failures to increase small business lending. Note that Jack doesn't refudiate any of those charges.

Nor are the charges of TARP fraud new. Witness this from April of 2009:
The man charged with monitoring the $700 billion financial rescue has launched more than a dozen investigations into possible misuse of the money, according to a report sent to Congress today.

In findings that are not likely to soothe agitated taxpayers who are wondering what return they are getting from the bailouts, Neil Barofsky -- Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP -- said billions of taxpayer dollars are vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse.

Barofsky -- who detailed the bailout fund perils in a 250-page tome [pdf] -- said that the criminal probes are looking into possible public corruption, stock, tax, and corporate fraud, insider trading and mortgage fraud. There would be no details on the targets, according to the report, "until public action is taken."

Inadequate oversight and insufficient information about what companies are doing with the money leaves the program open to fraud, including "conflicts of interest facing fund managers, collusion between participants and vulnerabilities to money laundering," Barofsky told lawmakers.
Difficult to pin that one on the Obama administration as April of 2009 was only about a month or so after the Inauguration.

But Jack's ending is the real funny:
Telling us what's happening and why is the job journalists are supposed to do. If journalists were doing their jobs, we should know at least as much about TARP as we do about Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's teenage dabbling in witchcraft. That we don't is contemporary journalism's enduring shame.
He's complaining about bad journalism? This is the Jack Kelly who's column on Van Jones was yanked because it was so riddled with factual errors. This isthe Jack Kelly who claimed, with no evidence mind you, that ex-Weather Underground radical William Ayers wrote Barack Obama's book "Dreams of My Father."

Watching Jack Kelly complain about bad journalism is a hoot.

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