TARP Fund Restrictions Are Proposed in New Legislation

Much criticism has flowed from how the first $350 billion in TARP “bailout” funds are being used. Thus far, the need for additional restrictions to prevent and penalize fraud and abuse of TARP money remains unmet.

In response, yesterday House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank proposed legislation establishing greater limits on use of TARP funds, among other things.

The “TARP Reform and Accountability Act of 2009” (HR 384) would require quarterly reports from recipients on their use of TARP funds, restrict the use of TARP funds for acquisitions, and impose further limits on executive compensation. Among its other terms are that it would increase the authority of the Financial Stability Oversight Board.

A potentially very significant point is that the Act empowers Treasury to apply the new limits on bonuses and other executive compensation to past recipients of TARP funds.

The new restrictions should further Sen. Grassley’s call for use of the False Claims Act, the very successful qui tam whistleblower statute, to protect TARP funds.

The entire TARP Reform and Accountability Act of 2009 may be found at http://www.rules.house.gov/111/LegText/111_HR384txt.pdf.