TARP Recipients Squandering Funds On Golf

It has come to light that Northern Trust, recipient of $1,576,000,000 Funbucks, has sponsored a PGA tournament, put their clients up in 5-star hotels, and hired Chicago and Sheryl Crow for musical entertainment. I didn't watch the tournamanent personally, so I can't definitively say whether the festivities included the Blue Angels skywriting "SCREW THE POOR!" over the 18th green. Regardless, many Democratic members of the House Financial Services Committee found Northern Trust's behavior reprehensible and posted the following letter on the their website this evening (Italics are mine) :

Mr. Frederick H. Waddell
President and Chief Executive Officer
Northern Trust
50 South LaSalle
Chicago, IL 60603

Dear Mr. Waddell:

We are dismayed and angered to learn that Northern Trust recently spent millions of dollars on a PGA golf tournament sponsorship and associated parties at the same time it has taken over $1.5 billion in federal stabilization funding under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. According to published media reports, your bank not only sponsored the Northern Trust tournament at the Riviera Country Club, but also hosted clients and employees at places like the Beverly Wilshire and Ritz Carlton hotels and gave away Tiffany souvenirs. If this is accurate, we are demanding you take corrective action.

At a time when millions of homeowners are facing foreclosure, businesses and consumers are in dire need of credit, and the government is trying to keep financial institutions – including yours – alive with billions in taxpayer funds, this behavior demonstrates extraordinary levels of irresponsibility and arrogance.

We insist that you immediately return to the federal government the equivalent of what Northern Trust frittered away on these lavish events. Federal taxpayers should not and will not stand for such abuses, and we will insist that any future Treasury support for Northern Trust be conditioned on a thorough reform of your company’s policies and practices.

We look forward to your reply and immediate reimbursement of these funds.


Reps. Barney Frank, Carolyn Maloney, Brad Sherman, Dennis Moore, Wm Lacy Clay, Stephen F. Lynch, Brad Miller, Al Green, Gwen Moore, Paul W. Hodes, Keith Ellison, Charles Wilson, Bill Foster, Andre Carson, Mary Jo Kilroy, Steve Driehaus, Alan Grayson, Gary Peters

Per the NYT, Sen. John Kerry is proposing legislation to end TARP recipients' "extravagant spending practices." He went on to say, "I’m sick and tired of picking up the newspaper and reading about another idiotic abuse of taxpayer money while our country is on the brink.” Northern Trust defended the tournament spending by using the standard TARP recipient's rationalization that "other" money was used for lavishments and that they really didn't need the TARP infusion due to their robust balance sheet. I'm inclined to agree with Northern Trust and suggest that they should return the entire $1.57B, which could be used for to reduce the principals of 31,400 troubled homeowners by $50,000.

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