Of the 23 top recipients of capital through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, 13 owe unpaid federal taxes, a House panel reported Thursday.
Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who chairs the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee, said the companies owe more than $220 million of unpaid federal taxes. Two of the companies owe more than $100 million each.
Lewis accused the Treasury Department of engaging in poor documentation practices by failing to ask the companies to prove that they did not owe federal taxes — a requirement for government aid. "Treasury did not ask these banks and companies to turn over their tax records," he said. "Treasury relied on the signed statements when it agreed to invest billions of taxpayer dollars."
It is unclear whether the Internal Revenue Service has taken steps to recover unpaid taxes from the Tarp recipients. However, two of the program's watchdogs were previously unaware of the debt's existence.