Announcing BailoutSleuth.com

Transparency is key to the success of the Bailout and related loans and investments the government makes with our tax dollars. Without complete transparency, we will get from our government what we always get when it comes to finances, confusion. To do my part, I’ve worked with the folks at Sharesleuth.com to create Bailoutsleuth.com

Its job is simple, keep an eye on our taxpayer dollars and call Bullshit when necessary.

if you take a trip over to Bailoutsleuth you can see that its already time to call BS. In the first contract handed out, in this case to Bank of NY Mellon Corp, the compensation section is blacked out.

Sad. So very sad, that we couldnt make it a week without being afraid of the very taxpayers who are footing the tab for all of this.

Bailoutsleuth will try to publish every day in keeping up with how our taxdollars are spent and the people and companies that are impacted by this program. We are still a work in progress and look forward to your comments , feedback and tips.

71 thoughts on “Announcing BailoutSleuth.com

  1. I just finished a run for US Congress in Maryland. Terribly under funded and in the wrong party for this district didn’t give me much hope for a win. But what I did accomplish is the beginings of an awareness of the money system.

    I believe there is a strong case for a class action against the directors of the Federal Reserve regoinal banks. 12 USC 301 requires the directors not provide credit for member banks to speculate with. They did exactly this and cause the collapse.

    What I’d like to see your bailout sleuth web site cover is the fact that all the bailout money is being put into member bank capital. This is what is calledin the business “high powered money”.

    This means through the banks monoply power to create new money, each commerical bank can take this new capital and create ten times that amount in new loans. Sp citibank can create $200 billion in new loans.

    Once these new loans proceeeds are then depositied back into the banks, they commericial banks as a whole can create up 9 times this new money via the fractional reserve banking system.

    So as much as 90 times the $700 billion can be created. With $63 trillion in new money flooding te economy we will have hyper inflation.

    Right now all that high powered money is sitting in the reserve accounts bearing interest. With no new loans yet we are facing more deflation as principal on old loans is destroyed as it is paid.

    Since the public has no control over whether we will see deflation or inflation, it is important that we all be ready to switch from cash to commodities quickly.

    There are several ways we can fight back. Everyone should pull all moneys out of Fed banks and buy shares of a local state chartered credit union. Even thought the ill effects of the fractional reserve system are at work the profits goes to the credit union members(you).

    Comment by Peter James -

  2. The mortgage bailout plan was a complete disaster.

    Now I’m hearing that the mortgage industry is on the upswing WITHOUT the bailout money.

    GO FIGURE!

    Comment by Sam -

  3. Pingback: Mark Cuban targeted by SEC after exposing corruption « disinter

  4. And this is PRECISELY why you have the SEC knocking on your door now. Can they be anymore predictable? What a crock.

    Sorry Mark.

    Please buy the KC Royals and/or Chiefs, please.

    Comment by http://twitter.com/teedubya -

  5. Do you this this site might have made some people mad and
    got them after Mark for anything they could find?

    Comment by Don Lewis -

  6. Pingback: Mark Cuban charged with insider trading. | The Unspun Zone...

  7. Hello Mr. Cuban,

    In terms of bringing transparency and accountability on the US Treasury’s TARP Capital Purchase Program and the FDIC;s temporary liquidity program, our firm, ISG Metrics, measures and rates the ethical behavior of firms based on degrees of compliance with federal regulations on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 represents full compliance while 5 represents critical deficiencies. A wide cross section of firms have a 4 rating, meaning serious compliance deficiencies with federal regulations. We are looking to grow our business model which dives deep on complex regulations to bring transparency and accountability based on public informations.

    Sincerely, Beck

    Comment by Beckwith Miller -

  8. Pingback: Mark Cuban shines a light on benefactors of bailout | Muckety.com - See the news

  9. Pingback: Blacknell.net » Friday Notes: Clock Watching Edition

  10. Pingback: Bailout Bull « Out Of My Mind

  11. genius, thank you!

    Comment by jb -

  12. Pingback: Scott’s Blog » Blog Archive » Mark Cuban, Keeping an Eye on the Bailout

  13. Pingback: The Agitator » Blog Archive » Morning Links

  14. How about creating an API so this information can be republished?

    Comment by CVOS man -

  15. I have to admit, the WSJ makes a good point here….

    In an early post, Bailout Sleuth homes in on Simpson Thacher’s $300,000 “time and materials” contract to provide Treasury with legal advice in its deployment of the bailout funds. Bailout Sleuth bemoans the fact that Treasury blacked out the hourly rate it’s paying Simpson employees. The contract, which lasts six months — from October 10, 2008, to April 10, 2009 — merely lists estimated hours for each employee category: 564 hours for partners; 1,692 hours for associates; 376 hours for counsel; and 1,128 hours for legal assistants.**

    Bailout Sleuth writes: “The contract that the Treasury Department gave Simpson Thacher was awarded through competitive bidding, although only two firms made proposals. Without the information on the hourly rates, it is impossible for outside observers to say for sure whether the government got a good deal.”

    We sympathize with Bailout Sleuth’s frustration over the hourly rates being blacked out. But by our estimation — and we emphasize estimation — Treasury got a heckuva deal.

    Here’s one possible break-down of Simpson’s hourly rate:

    564 partner hours @ $120 = $67,680

    376 counsel hours @ $100 = $37,600

    1,692 associate hours @ $80 = $135,360

    1,128 assistant hours @ $50 = $56,400
    ______________________________________

    TOTAL: $297,040

    Even providing for a substantial margin of error in our estimates, these are bargain basement rates. After all, one of the six “key personnel” listed on the contract is Lee Meyerson (Duke, NYU law), a senior partner and the head of the firm’s financial institutions practice. Another is David Eisenberg (Duke, Duke law), whose firm bio says he’s responsible for creating Simpson’s asset-backed practice.

    A call to Simpson Thacher was not returned. A Treasury spokeswoman told the Law Blog that Simpson opted to black out their hourly rates because the firm was not required to disclose the rates under the Freedom of Information Act.

    We wonder, Law Blog Loyals: When was the last time the Simpson Thacher partnership charged these kinds of rates for a paying matter?

    **The contract says: “The estimated hours represent 60% of the Government’s estimated hours in the solicitation.”

    Comment by Eric -

  16. Just listened to the Planet Money podcast, thanks for the info and for flipping the
    bill for sleuth.

    Comment by shaun -

  17. This blog kicks ass.

    Comment by Nick Polino -

  18. Mark, thanks for the tip on these great sites. With so much rhetoric
    circulating the web during election season, I am always looking for
    credible information sources to dispel the myths. I’m consistently
    surprised by how many people buy into these myths mainly because they
    don’t have the time (or desire?) to research the facts.

    Comment by K. Smith -

  19. Awesome site! Bailoutsleuth is exactly what I was looking to do in my spare time. Hank Paulson already gave a middle finger to all of us when he hired a 35 YEAR OLD junior investment banker to oversee the bailout. Give me a break! It is our duty as Americans to keep track of this potential corruption. What do you think that the compensation sections will look like when they hire the asset managers!!!!! Hopefully it will not be blacked out. This isn’t the Kennedy assassination.

    Comment by Client-9 -

  20. Pingback: Simpson Thacher’s Bargain Basement Rates for Bailout Work | ESQ BLOG.Me

  21. http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2008/10/21/simpson-thachers-bargain-basement-rates-for-bailout-work/

    Comment by dj2007 -

  22. Pingback: Law Blog - WSJ.com : Simpson Thacher's Bargain Basement Rates for Bailout Work

  23. I love that your trying to help keep an eye on the criminals Mark.
    Good job. But there is no way to make sure they spend the money
    appropriately since them spending the money at all is inappropriate.
    You, and everyone else for that matter, should read Henry Hazlitt’s
    Economics In One Lesson. Its a good, quick read and you have an
    awesome forum to promote the ideas if you so wish.

    Comment by Nico -

  24. Thank you for your leadership as financial guru. It’s great to be kept informed by a most knowledgeable source!

    Comment by Diana -

  25. This is terrific. Public outrage tends to die down and people
    forget about the past when the next big crisis is shoved down our
    throats. People need to realize that this needs to be monitored full
    circle. The government will eventually sell these assets back to companies and someone needs to make sure we get a decent price. There will be a lot of pressure in the
    future for the government to divest itself and when it does, we
    must not allow giveaways.

    Comment by Jerry -

  26. any sleuthing on this?

    Citi optimism boosts Fannie and Freddie
    By Saskia Scholtes in New York
    Financial times

    Published: August 26 2008 18:05 | Last updated: August 26 2008 18:05

    Excerpt:
    Shares in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac surged on Tuesday after Citigroup analysts said the two government-sponsored mortgage financiers could withstand losses up to the end of the year and an imminent government rescue was unlikely.

    Brad Ball, analyst at Citigroup, recommended the stock of both government-sponsored mortgage financiers. Shares in Freddie rose by 22.19 per cent and Fannie was 13.10 per cent higher in morning trade, leading stock markets higher.

    [...]

    Treasury officials were working on the issue of Fannie and Freddie throughout the weekend, after Fannie and Freddie both lost more than 40 per cent of their market value last week on speculation a government rescue would leave shareholders with nothing.

    Comment by nathan -

  27. Pingback: FrontBurner » Blog Archive » Mark Cuban Has (Another) New Web Venture

  28. Right on, thanks Mark.

    Comment by Daniel Sundquist -

  29. Great stuff on the BailoutSleuth idea – thanks very much.

    Comment by Berat -

  30. Mark,
    During the Savings and Loan Crisis in the 1980’s there were opportunities for investigation companies to
    sub-contract asset and liabilites reports for the FDIC and Resolution Trust Corporation so
    they could recoop some of their losses.

    I worked in that industry for four years researching court house records for 4 years, completing reports in 14 southern states.

    Many of the investigation companies were woman owned businesses that received preferential consideration.

    Do you see any similar opportunites in this bailout?

    Looking for a silver lining,
    Kirk

    Comment by Kirk -

  31. Another good feature for bailoutsleauth would be to list all the players associated with the BailOut and how they fit into the situation. This will aid in your transparency efforts but it will also allow us to track the “movements” of these individuals. For example, Hank Paulson and Neel Kashkari will exit the Treasury in January and I would like to know their next positions and how much profiteering will follow. Setting up a dynamic matrix would help visualize the “conflicts of interest” web that will develop in the months to come.

    Comment by econ365 -

  32. Pingback: Chris Busch

  33. Thank you for your work in this area.

    Comment by Scott Dalferes -

  34. Here’s a thought, have an overly obvious “BS O Meter” or “BS Count” that keeps up with the number of times transparency didn’t quite make the final version. Track how many calls you leave messages for people and the names of the people you left messages with and for. Open up a “case” file for each and every BS item. The site is awesome and you always do put your $$ where your mouth is. Bravo.

    I mean, call these people out…put their phone numbers on the site, put their email addresses on the site, and their mailing addresses. Send links to every major news outlet and maybe one will pick up on what you’re doing and take up arms with us common folk. Full court press their ass.

    Comment by Michael -

  35. Why not e-mail the BLOG link to House members’ and Senators’ offices?

    Comment by Peter -

  36. Hey Mark, This is classic “Scorpion and the Frog” The frog (the taxpayers) gets stung after carryihg the scorpion (banks,credit companies,etc) across the river. After recahing his agenda, the scorpion stings the frog and the frog dies. Before the frog dies he asked frantically “WHY WHY ?!!!!!” The scorpion turns calmly and says “Its nothing personal,its just my nature.” These guys are not going to change and to make matters more complicated we have the fox watching the chicken coop. People are going to find out that a lot of these financial institutions were cooking books all the way back when Enron made the last great con. A lot of congressmen and senators knew it then and they were getting fat on campaign contributions. Again, Its nothing personal folks, its just thier nature.What is needed if at all possible is an independant investigation but even by then the principals will be in the Fiji Islands or Bora Bora. Thanks for the thoughts.

    Comment by Frankie from Lawnside -

  37. I agree 100% that transparency is key to the success of the bailout.

    Comment by Jon -

  38. Good points and plenty of rational, practical, though-provoking insight. I’m wondering when we will have actual business people making economic decisions for our country? The government should put together a panel of legitimate busineess owners and successful entrepreneurs (Cuban, Buffet, Gates, etc.) and let them run our economy. Unfortuantely, that might actually work and jeopardize the political B.S. that has infiltrated our present economy. One day, maybe one day……….

    Comment by James G. -

  39. Thanks Mark. This bailout stunk from the beginning.

    Comment by Brett -

  40. @chiefly up above

    Did you really just try to dictate what he puts on his PERSONAL blog?

    Comment by Robert -

  41. Pingback: » Mark Cuban Announces Bailout Watchdog Blog mike | bietz

  42. Thank you Mark for thinking of the middle class and tax payers.

    Comment by Vic -

  43. Pingback: Transparency Equals Effective Monetary Policy

  44. I love the fact that someone is making this easier to the public. After reading the article I do understand why its blacked out …for NOW. Not to stick up for the treasury departmaent, but if they are negotiating services, I can see why they wouldnt want their current contracts being public knowledge until those contracts are signed. Kudos for that…but after thse contracts are done, I hope we see in fact what the compensation is.

    Comment by DT -

  45. Mark, Thank you.

    Comment by Darrell Leverington -

  46. Thanks for spreading awareness Mark. I’ll be checking this site often

    Comment by Kriton -

  47. Check this out:

    Prosecutors Issue Subpeaonas To Lehman Brothers Execs

    http://www.dollarsandsense.org/blog/2008/10/prosecutors-issue-subpeaonas-to-lehman.html

    by Dollars & Sense
    Three US Attorneys’ offices (two in New York and one in New Jersey) have launched separate grand jury investigations of failed financial services giant Lehman Brothers. Subpoenas have already been issued to a dozen past executives.

    The exact nature of the investigations has not been made public, but a lawyer representing Lehman Brothers in bankruptcy court disputed the claim by an administrator for Lehman’s European unit that $8 billion was transferred from the companies European operations on the eve of the bankruptcy.

    Comment by Guerilla Billionaire™ -

  48. Take a look at you rss feed in g chrome. may not be configured properly.
    great site

    Comment by nick -

  49. Thanks for putting this out there Mark. Personally I like your EFT
    proposal the best. Outside of that I don’t think the American taxpayer
    will get any significant transparency.

    Comment by Joe -

  50. Mark,
    Do you have an opinion of Neel Kashkari? Do you think he will do a bad or good job in distributing the money? Is there any possible way that we don’t exhaust the full $700B? Could you imagine if the government actually came in under-budget? Is that possible at this day and age?

    Comment by Jeff Sandels -

  51. Mark,

    http://bailoutsleuth.com, money well spent.

    Despite that it seems too late, I would still advocate for letting financial dinosaurs to die, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/henryk-a-kowalczyk/its-time-for-financial-di_b_128466.html .

    Regards,
    Henryk A. Kowalczyk

    Comment by Henryk A. Kowalczyk -

  52. Thanks Mark. This is the kind of pro-active attitude we’re all going to have to have to get out of this republican made mess.

    Comment by eddie -

  53. Bravo! This site should be recommended to everyone…as I will do in my small way. It should be an group in Facebook, etc!

    Comment by Henry Davis -

  54. I really appreciate that someone with your resources has chosen to give
    this viability. Other than electing officials who we believe will be
    proper stewards of our dollars (which takes too long), what are us normal
    folks to do? I’m reading BailoutSleuth and it just make me angry, more so
    because I feel there’s nothing I can do to express my displeasure.

    Do you have any ideas on that Mark? Again, I really appreciate what you
    are doing.

    Rod

    Comment by Roderick -

  55. I’m glad someone (or some organization) is trying to keep up with this. God knows the average person can’t keep up with all of it.

    Comment by Ryan -

  56. Mark, you’re the man. When an entrepreneur or small businessman
    fails, he stands to take a major hit financially. In contrast these Wall
    Street thieves destroy a company and then walk away with millions, if
    not tens of millions, in golden parachutes. The final CEO of WAMU exited
    with millions for less than three weeks of work.

    Comment by Guerilla Billionaire™ -

  57. Another suggestion is to mail these to our Senators and congresspeople
    with a request for comment and explanation.

    Comment by Timothy Lucas -

  58. This is great! But the big question is… what do I DO? When they’re already blacking out information… how do I as an ordinary citizen protest this?

    Thanks for all you’ve done so far, and any advice you or anyone else can give me.

    Comment by Mike -

  59. Pingback: And It Begins . . . — Thornton Wealth Management

  60. Thank you for this Mark!

    Comment by Chase Peeler -

  61. Mr Maverick,
    Thanks, you really are “the man” and again your ahead of the meanstream with
    Bailoutsleuth.com, where we can watch them spend all of our money… and then
    watch them print money till a $100 dallor bill is worth about as much as a piece
    of one ply toilet paper…

    one question, In the last 25 years have any American CEOs taken a business ethics class???

    I enjoy your blog and set it as my homepage a while back… but I had to chime in about
    our country hitting rock bottom, I believe its going to get worse before it gets any
    better and maybe thats just what the US needs to wake up some of the zombies that
    dont know or care about whats going on, in this place that I love!

    later,
    Johnnyo

    ps. Im stationed in Gulfport MS, and from outside philly but I cant wait to see a Mavs game…

    ~ work hard to play hard ~

    Comment by Johnnyo -

  62. Mark,

    I’m with you, too! I just discovered this blog today. I’ve added you to my Google Reader, and I will be letting readers of all my sites know about this blog, as well as BailoutSleuth. Thanks for giving this to the world!

    Keep it up!

    Rick

    Comment by Rick -

  63. Nascar and motorsports facilities? Who else benefits from the BAILOUT?

    http://www.last.fm/forum/23/_/464002

    Comment by Jim Parham -

  64. Mark, this is a great idea… and you’re right, how pathetic that not even a week goes by and they’re already being shady with our money. Amazing stuff.

    Comment by Ben -

  65. Excellent idea. Mark, you should run for president :)
    This is extremely constructive and can only help remove some of the confusion around all this

    Comment by Joe -

  66. kudos. Ben Franklin would be proud.

    Comment by Michael F. Martin -

  67. Mr Cuban, please put all economics and bailout related commentary on BAIL SLEUTH from now on since I come here for basketball news and don’t care about your political ambitions or ideals.

    Comment by chiefly -

  68. Yeah, this looks like crap on the surface. Realistically, though, it’s a procedural carryover from the larger world of government contracting. Labor rates and other pricing are very competitive and are – as a matter of policy – redacted from public requests, including FOIA, etc.
    Should we be able to see these rates? Hell yes. Can that happen because it’s “the right thing to do”? Well… This is the government, after all. It can happen, but not easily.
    The way for this to be done right is that all of these Treasury contracts need to be injected with a new clause of SCL (standard contract language) to the tune of:
    “All terms of a winning proposal will be declared public information, and shall be published in their entirety, without redaction, ensuring transparency.”
    Normally, SCL is for stuff like “contractors won’t charge the government for travel expenses exceeding the official government allowances,” etc. I agree that this situation warrants a new one.

    You’ve nailed it on the need for greater transparency, but I recommend directing fire toward the reason it “is what it is.”

    Great stuff on the BailoutSleuth idea – thanks very much.

    Comment by Phil H -

  69. Mark Cuban for Secretary of the Treasury. Seriously.

    Comment by MSC -

  70. As a starting point, I would try to uncover how ‘they’ arrived at the $700 billion figure in the first place. From what I’ve deduced the methodology involved a monkey and a dartboard.

    Comment by Jim Parham -

  71. Go Mark Go. I’m with you…if there’s nothing to hide then break out the
    records. As for a suggestion or help, I’ve added BailoutSleuth.com as a
    favorite on my blog along with blogmaverick.com, of course.

    Stay after ‘em.

    Luther

    http://luther-ott.blogspot.com/

    Comment by Luther Ott -

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