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Groups protest lack of accountability in Treasury bill

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  1. Freedom of Information
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press joined other open government groups Tuesday protesting the lack of transparency and…

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press joined other open government groups Tuesday protesting the lack of transparency and accountability in legislative proposals giving the Treasury Department emergency powers in response to the current financial market crisis.

In a letter sent to House and Senate committees considering the bailout bill, more than 50 groups and concerned individuals said more access to information is needed.

“While we hold many different views on the causes of and remedies for the current turmoil in financial markets, we are united in the belief that the legislation confers unacceptably broad powers upon the Treasury to conduct activities without transparency and accountability to the public,” the letter said.

Other groups joining the letter included the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Civil Liberties Union, Openthegovernment.org and the National Freedom of Information Coalition.

Veiling the proposed solutions is “a certain prescription for the very kind of opacity that has contributed to the financial policy woes we face today,” the letter stated. “Equally troubling, public contracts associated with the proposal could be created outside of existing laws normally governing such actions.”

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on the issue Tuesday and the House Financial Services Committee will hold similar hearings Wednesday and Thursday.