Almost half the $700 billion bailout money has been shoveled out the door, but nobody is keeping track of it.
"It's a mess," says Eric M. Thorson, the Treasury Department's inspector general, who has overseen the dispensing of $290 billion so far until a special inspector general takes over. "I don't think anyone understands right now how we're going to do proper oversight of this thing."
Nobody expects neatness from a rescue operation in panic mode, but the spectacle of Bush Administration ineptness coupled with Congressional turf warfare in an interregnum is distressing.
Six weeks have passed without White House naming of an inspector general to conduct audits and investigations of the bailout, including equity investments in firms.with reports about assets acquired, their value, the reasons for acquiring them and details about individuals and companies in each deal.
Meanwhile in the Senate, the Finance and Banking Committees are arguing over the confirmation process when the Administration finally does, and lobbyists are besieging a former Karl Rove White House assistant in cowboy boots, 32-year-old Jeb Mason, who is charged with sorting out the supplicants for loans.
With each passing day, it's looking like another Katrina, with money instead of water.