Apparently not the watchdog–though not for lack of trying. Politco’s Glenn Thrush and Huffpo’s Ryan Grim are reporting some stinging words from Congress’ oversight czar, Elizabeth Warren, regarding Treasury’s cooperation (or lack of it) in keeping the legislative branch informed about where that $700 billion in bailout money is going. In testimony this morning before the Senate Finance Committee, she suggested that legislation may be necessary to force Treasury to hand over the information she needs to do her job.
Warren, who was sharply critical of Geithner’s predecessor Hank Paulson for allegedly underestimating public exposure to bank losses, said he[r] office has “substantial questions about AIG, TALF… how many acronyms can we do here?”
She added that Treasury has given her “no articulation of what [the bailout] is supposed to accomplish” and lamented the fact that “we have no way to measure” its success.
“Congress and the American people have been cut out of the conversation,” she said.
“We do not seem to be a priority for the Treasury Department,” said Warren.
She added that the administration’s failure to ask for more accountability has led to a situation that is difficult to oversee. “This problem starts with Treasury,” she said.
UPDATE: Our friends at the C-Span Video Library produce the tape.