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Where has the bailout been so far?

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Steve Chiotakis: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is in a bit of a pickle. He’s weighing what to do next in the fallout from the financial crisis. And he’s taking some heat about what’s already been done. All amid reports by the Wall Street Journal he could ask lawmakers next week for another chunk of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

We’re joined this morning by Ashley Milne-Tyte in New York. Ashley, let’s start off with a reminder of where the first big chunk went.

Ashley Milne-Tyte: OK — $250 billion was set aside for the banks. Forty billion was later funneled to insurer AIG. And Citigroup last week received na extra $20 billion to help them stay afloat.

Chiotakis: So Ashley, there’s so much going on here. This request, if it does come, comes at a pretty interesting time with this report that’s come out now that the first part of this money wasn’t spent as efficiently as some lawmakers would have wanted.

Milne-Tyte: Yeah, that’s right. The Government Accountability Office yesterday came out with an investigation into how the Treasury Department was handling the whole TARP program. And they concluded that frankly, the funds weren’t being overseen that well. Now remember, this program’s supposed to ultimately benefit taxpayers. Taxpayers are supposed to receive a return on their investment. And the way things stand at the moment, the GAO isn’t convinced that that’s actually going to happen.

Chiotakis: So this very well may happen — Paulson goes before Congress to talk about this, but there are so many ideas different ideas of where this money should go.

Milne-Tyte: Well providing it’s actually approved, I mean Henry Paulson’s made clear he’d like more of the money to go to financial institutions. But there’s pressure from some quarters to funnel some of that money to consumers to ease the financial pressure on them. I mean, Paulson’s colleague over at the FDIC, Sheila Bair, is backing a plan to help homeowners who are behind on their mortgages. And then of course there are plenty of other people who would like to see some of that money go to the car makers.

Chiotakis: All right, Ashley Milne-Tyte joining us from New York.

Milne-Tyte: You’re welcome.

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