In a performance worthy of Dean Wormer's Double Secret Probation, the US Treasury Department gave a classic runaround to St. Louis Business Journal reporter Greg Edwards when he had the temerity to ask Treasury why it is keeping the names of bidders in its auction sales of "TARP stock" a big fat secret.
Originally the Treasury spokesman, who identified himself as Adam, said he would get the answer from the department’s lawyers. Having received no response by Thursday, we called again. The inquiry was duly noted, I was told.
Today I made another effort, aware of the three-day weekend’s approach. The line rang and rang before I got a voicemail recording that told me public affairs was “not available.” Perhaps the weekend already has begun for taxpayer-funded government workers.
Edwards relates an email from a reader (I assume a banker) who was also being stonewalled.
“I have called and emailed the U.S. Treasury several times to try to find out when certain auctions would occur and who had won auctions I read about after they took place. I have never heard back from anyone.”
As one outraged St. Louis banker reminds us, this is taxpayer money we're talking about.
Yes, well, so it is. As if that ever meant a thing to the people who play with it. File a FOIA request, Greg. Then pull out a pillow, a blanket, and a quart of Ripple, and settle in for a long and peaceful slumber while you wait for denials, the redaction of all critical information, and a Westminster Abbey-sized load of smoke to be blown up your nether regions. After all, this is your federal government at work, and accountability to the taxpayer is definitely NOT its long suit.