The Treasury Department should do more to monitor its Troubled Asset Relief Program, according to a Government Accountability Office report Friday.
"While GAO does not question the need for swift responses in the current economic environment, the lack of a clearly articulated vision has complicated Treasury's ability to effectively communicate to Congress, the financial markets, and the public on the benefits of Tarp," the agency said.
It recommended that the Treasury expand its monthly progress reports on the Capital Purchase Program and develop a way to track the uses made of capital infusions.
The Treasury has said it plans to rely on quarterly call report data and a survey of institutions to track lending, but the GAO said this was not enough.
"We continue to believe that additional action is needed to better ensure that all participating institutions are accountable for their use of the funds," according to the report. "Without more frequent information on all participants, Treasury will have little timely information about the effectiveness of the overall program and the changing condition of the institutions and may limit the ability of its newly created team of analysts to analyze how the infusions are being used by the institutions and the effectiveness of the program."
The Senate Banking Committee plans to hold a hearing Thursday on Tarp's implementation. A congressional oversight panel's chairman, Elizabeth Warren, and Tarp Inspector General Neil Barofsky are scheduled to testify. On Feb. 10 Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is expected to appear before the committee at a hearing on how the administration plans to spend the rest of the funds.