Ira Artman’s Sterling Slivers: Mumble-dy Beg

December 24th, 2008 · 1 Comment

                      Source: Wikipedia  - Taschenmesser, User: Taket, 2 Sep 2007.
                 Mumblety Peg: Game for two people, played with pocket knife.


Thank you all for returning to the District on such short notice.  I understand that this is a holiday weekend, and that all of us had planned to spend this time with our families and loved ones. But I believe that you will fully support my decision when you hear the details.  Please accept my apologies for your inconvenience. I am pleased to announce both an award and an appointment.

The Alexander Hamilton Award is the highest award that the Treasury Department can give, and is named for the founding US Treasury Secretary. Though Hamilton never served in Washington, employees and visitors to our magnificent building are frequently reminded of his historic role - as they walk down Alexander Hamilton Place, pass the statue of Alexander Hamilton on the building’s south side, or see his portrait outside my suite. A select few Americans are recognized for their service to the Department and to our country with the Alexander Hamilton Award.

I am pleased to present the 2008 Alexander Hamilton Award to Associated Press writer Matt Apuzzo for his 22 Dec 2008 expose - Banks mum where bailout money is going.

Mr. Apuzzo’s story appeared in newspapers throughout the country, and provided this Department with the first inkling that we, and the banks that received $350 billion of TARP bailout money, had no idea where the bailout money was going.

If I may quote briefly from Mr. Apuzzo’s groundbreaking story:

“…After receiving billions in aid from US taxpayers, the nation’s largest banks say they can’t track exactly how they’re spending the money …

“The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions:

  1. How much has been spent?
  2. What was it spent on?
  3. How much is being held in savings?, and
  4. What’s the plan for the rest?

“None of the banks provided specific answers…

“There has been no accounting of how banks spend that money. Lawmakers summoned bank executives to Capitol Hill last month and implored them to lend the money — not to hoard it or spend it on corporate bonuses,  junkets or to buy other banks. But there is no process in place to make  sure that’s happening and there are no consequences for banks who don’t  comply….

“Representative Scott Garrett, R-NJ, a House Financial Services Committee Member …said the nation might never get a  clear answer on where hundreds of billions of dollars went. ‘A year or two ago, when we talked about spending $100 million for a  bridge to nowhere, that was considered a scandal,’ he said.”

You will find copies of Mr. Apuzzo’s complete story in your press kit.  Thank you again, Mr. Apuzzo.  [Begins clapping]

[General applause … dies down]

Now, I’d like to announce an appointment for the newly created post of TARP Investigator General.  The Investigator General will be charged with improving the integrity, efficiency, and accountability of future TARP disbursements.  Mr. Apuzzo’s story highlighted the need for this position. 

That’s why I am pleased to present to you a gentleman with years of experience in the handling and tracking of large sums of money.  Right now, we can track nothing. The new TARP Investigator General has promised me that he will establish a world-class financial tracking system for the remaining $350 billion of TARP funds.  

Please welcome a man who truly needs no introduction, the next TARP Investigator General and former NASDAQ Chairman - Bernard L. Madoff.
- - - - - - - - - - - 
I used to work with numbers for a living, but I’m looking forward to tracking future leads as I search for my new job or my next idea.  Till next time. 


Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press/In-Forum News - Banks mum where bailout money is going, 22 Dec 2008.

Tags: Commentary · Ira Artman · Mortgage Market

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