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The bailout

From the Winter 2009 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 12. The Bush Administration had committed billions…

From the Winter 2009 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 12.

The Bush Administration had committed billions of dollars in government money to bailing out the financial sector and other industries, such as the struggling automakers, by the time President Obama took office. But the Bush White House had conducted the bailout under a veil of secrecy — from hushed meetings at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the beginning to a failure to disclose banks’ contracts with the government when they received bailout funds.

The Treasury Department under Secretary Tim Geithner pledged with Obama to make the bailout process more transparent even as FOIA lawsuits are pending in several courts for bailout related documents.

Treasury has now posted online a variety of contracts with big banks for bailout money, but has yet to disclose more information. One of the most sought documents is an un-redacted copy of the government’s contract with the Bank of New York-Mellon to manage part of the bailout. The Bush White House had promised it was forthcoming but reporters are still seeking it in the ongoing FOIA suits.