Bailout Head Neel Kashkari Wants Transparency (Except When He Doesn’t)

It’s been widely reported that Neel Kashkari, Goldman Sachs alum and head of the $700 billion bailout, has said he wants transparency in administering the whole process. He is quoted as saying:

“Consistent with Congress’ intent, we are committed to transparency and oversight in all aspects of the program and have already taken several important steps in this area…”

Yet I have to wonder how transparent he really wants things to be when large contracts related to oversight and administration are being released to the public with redacted information. How is that transparent, if we can’t even see who is involved with overseeing the bailout and what they’re being paid?

Bank of New York Mellon Corp – Contract of unknown value to for custodian, accounting, auction management, and other infrastructure services – Compensation to be paid to the company is redacted.

Law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP – 6 month contract with a value of $300,000 – Hourly rates for all law firm employees (legal assistants, associates, of counsel, and partners) have been redacted.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) -$191,000 contract to establish internal controls – Names of employees, their titles, and their duties have been redacted.

What’s interesting about the redaction of the PwC contract, is that a related contract with auditing firm Ernst & Young (E&Y) for $492,000 for general accounting support and expert advice has nothing redacted.

The other contract that has been fully disclosed is the $2.495 million contract with Ennis Knupp and Associates to provide investment consulting services. Fees for their employees to provide these services range from $2,000 per day ($250/hr) to $5,000 per day ($625/hr).

I think it’s a bad sign when the contracts for core services related to the bailout have things redacted. This is not transparency, and so Neel Kashkari shouldn’t pretend that the government is going to be transparent with taxpayer money.

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