The subcommittee conducts oversight of the agencies, departments, and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction. The subcommittee also conducts investigations on any matter within the jurisdiction of the Committee, and evaluates the need for any legislative changes to the laws and programs within this jurisdiction.
The complete jourisdiction of the subcommittee includes:
(i) the oversight of all agencies, departments, programs, and matters within the jurisdiction of the Committee, including the development of recommendations with regard to the necessity or desirability of enacting, changing, or repealing any legislation within the jurisdiction of the Committee, and for conducting investigations within such jurisdiction; and
(ii) research and analysis regarding matters within the jurisdiction of the Committee, including the impact or probable impact of tax policies affecting matters within the jurisdiction of the Committee.
When Congress enacted the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, (P.L. 110-343), which authorized the establishment of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) within the Treasury Department, and created the Office of Financial Stability within Treasury to implement TARP. The Treasury Department posts regular TARP reports and updates at www.FinancialStability.gov.
The Act also established a regulatory framework for overseeing the implementation of the program. EESA created the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP) and the Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP). It also established new audit and oversight duties for the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The multiple layers of oversight included in EESA were designed to ensure effective oversight, accountability, and transparency. COP, SIGTARP and GAO have produced thousands of pages of oversight reports, audits and investigations to insure taxpayers are fully protected.
Since the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act was signed into law on October 3, 2008, both the Full Committee and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations have held a number of hearings about TARP oversight, accountability and transparency. The goal of these hearings have been to look at key issues exposed by the financial crisis and the next steps to continue improving financial stability in an economic recovery.
After its first hearing when the Subcommittee learned of staffing and other challenges the SIGTARP faced, Subcommittee Chairman Moore, Ranking Member Judy Biggert, Reps. Steve Driehaus and Erik Paulsen introduced H.R. 1341, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Act. Subsequently, the Senate version of the bill was quickly enacted by Congress and signed into law (P.L. 111-15). The legislation has strengthened the SIGTARP’s hiring authority and other enforcement powers to provide vigorous oversight of the $700 billion TARP program
The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation's has focused several of its TARP Oversight hearings on warrant repurchases. When TARP recipient repays its original Capital Purchase Program (CPP) investment, they have the right to repurchase its warrants at an agreed up on fair market value. This is done through direct negotiations with Treasury, which has established a multiple step process to value the warrants before they agree to sell them. If an institution decides not to repurchase its warrants, Treasury has indicated a preference to sell the warrants to a third party through a public auction.
The Subcommittee’s hearings have focused on maximizing the return on investment for taxpayers through this warrant repurchasing process. As a result, this program has generated over $7 billion of extra returns for taxpayers with billions more expected, and that’s in addition to nearly $200 billion of repayments of the initial TARP investment. The Subcommittee will continue to focus on how well the warrant repurchase program continues to be administered and ensuring taxpayers fully share in the upside of the economic recovery as a result of TARP.
A new addition to the Rules of the House sponsored by Rep. John Tanner (H. Res. 40) requires House committees to hold at least one hearing every four months “on the topic of waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement in Government programs….” The Full Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and other Financial Services subcommittees have far exceeded this requirement by holding over 50 oversight hearings in the 111th Congress.
These hearings have resulted in legislation to provide better oversight and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse with respect to financial agency programs. In response to one of these hearings, Subcommittee Chairman Moore, Ranking Member Biggert, Reps. Steve Driehaus and Christopher Lee introduced H.R. 3330, a bill to provide Inspectors General the flexibility they need to better manage their resources and provide ongoing oversight of failing banks, as well as other financial agency programs, such as foreclosure mitigation and anti-terrorist financing efforts. The House approved the bill on July 29, 2009. A modified version of H.R. 3330 was included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Additionally, the Dodd-Frank Act includes provisions originally offered by Subcommittee Chairman Moore and Rep. Stephen Lynch as a financial reform amendment which creates a new Council of Inspectors General on Financial Oversight, connecting existing financial agency Inspectors General and requiring financial agencies to respond to their oversight recommendations. The Moore-Lynch amendment also requires a mandatory Inspector General review be performed on future large financial firms that fail, as well as new GAO reporting requirements, which will better inform the Congress and financial agencies as the new regulatory system is implemented.
The Treasury Department established Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in 1990 to provide a government-wide multisource financial intelligence and analysis network. FinCEN’s operation was later expanded to include the responsibilities for administering the Bank Secrecy Act. The Subcommittee has held hearings examining FinCEN’s efforts with respect to Suspicious Activity Reports, Bank Secrecy Act compliance and anti-money laundering, as well as efforts by the Treasury Department to stop terrorist financing while ensuring due process for law-abiding charities. The Subcommittee reviewed oversight reports issued by GAO and the Treasury’s Inspector General on these issues, and will continue monitoring developments to ensure every appropriate action is taken to stop money laundering and terrorist financing activities.
The Subcommittee has held several field hearings and hearings in D.C. that have focused on how small businesses, women and minorities have been adversely impacted by the financial crisis and the recovery. The Subcommittee traveled to Southfield, Michigan, near Detroit to hear from the local business community and learn about its challenges accessing credit, the pressure banks and credit unions are under from bank examiners to make fewer loans, and the challenges facing bank regulators as bank failures rise. The Subcommittee also traveled to Chicago and heard from local industry representatives, experts and regulators on the status of the commercial real estate market, and its impact on economic recovery. On June 17, 2010, the House approved H.R. 5297, the Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010 sponsored by Chairman Barney Frank, which will establish a $30 billion fund to boost lending to small businesses looking to hire and expand their operations by providing additional capital to community banks. The ill was improved through the legislative process by the lessons learned from these field hearings.
In addition, the Oversight Subcommittee held a joint hearing with the Housing Subcommittee to examine how minorities and women were adversely impacted by the financial crisis. The joint subcommittee hearing bolstered the need to establish Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion at every federal financial agency that will, among other things, focus on employment and contracting diversity matters. These important, new offices were included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.