Looks like you can add Elizabeth Warren to the growing list of people who want the federal government to tell us more about that latest AIG bailout.
Warren, who chairs the panel that’s monitoring bailout spending on behalf of Congress, went on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show last night, and all but demanded more disclosure from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
Maddow raised the fact that AIG has reportedly passed bailout money onto its counterparties on those credit default swaps, and that it currently has four PR firms on its payroll. In response, Warren, appearing perhaps more frustrated than in any of her other numerous media appearances over the last few most, responded:
It doesn’t seem strange to me, and the fact that it doesn’t seem strange to me tells you something really awful about what it’s been like to be in Washington for the last few months.
These financial institutions have figured out that they’re bleeding red ink, and their best solution is to persuade the Treasury Department to give them lots of money. And when the Treasury Department starts to say, there may be some problems here, the American people don’t want to go along with this, then lets see if we can spin the American people on it.
The Treasury Department has not asked for the critical information about where this money has gone, from AIG. We’ve poured the money into AIG, and it has somehow poured it out the other end. The Treasury Department has not asked, and has not revealed, what it is that’s happening with that money.
And so as long as that’s the case, maybe some of the money is going to other financial institutions. Maybe some of the money is going to pay off these credit default swaps that are essential for saving other institutions that have counted on it for credit and insurance. And maybe some of where this money is going is just off to speculators, who just played the game of speculation, and would now like to collect a hundred cents on the dollar form their speculations, and collect it indirectly from the American taxpayer.
You can see the video here. (The excerpt quoted above begins around the 9:00 mark.)
The Federal Reserve, which has been at the center of the latest AIG bailout, has declined to reveal much information about the maneuver, including the identity of AIG’s counterparties, saying that doing so could affect confidence in the institutions at issue.
Reports by Warren’s panel have grown increasingly critical of Treasury’s level of transparency and accountability in regard to the bailout.