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Visions of a TARP Database Full of Beautiful, Standardized Data

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, April 30 2009

If you can believe it, we have today's second entry in the topic category of 'really obscure legislative vehicles with potentially huge technological impact that would enshrine into law what it is the rest of us are talking about anyway.' I'm on the hunt for a third. (See below for the first on this theme.) The deal is that Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner has introduced legislation that would amend the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act's sections on the $700 billion TARP program in the hopes of creating greater transparency. The bill would tweak the original text to create a mandatory online database of reported financial data, accessible to "the TARP Inspector General, the Congressional Oversight Panel, and the public." That's us! Here's the pitch:

The TARP Transparency Act will allow regulators and Congress to use a single database, in a standardized format, to provide a more complete picture of the actions of TARP fund recipients and contractors. The information could be collected and disseminated in near real-time, enhancing its value as a regulatory audit tool and also as a preventative oversight tool.

Warner is joined by odd-couple co-sponsors Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in backing the bill, the full text of which is below.

(I should probably note that I worked for Warner when he was considering a presidential run back in 2006, but that's neither here nor there when it comes to this post.)

(Photo credit: eflon)