This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Who is watching your money?
As we know, you remember you bailed out many of our banks to the tune of $700 billion. The day after Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was sworn in, he acted quickly, promising new rules to prevent lobbyists from having any influence on where the bailout money went.
It's six months later, the money is out. Where are the rules? And the cows are out of the barn, so we need to know if we even have any of those rules.
Joining us live is Meena, a reporter for the Dow Jones News Wires. Meena, he promised rules so that lobbyists would not be affecting the outcome of this bailout money. Did we get those rules?
MEENA THIRUVENGADAM, DOW JONES NEWS WIRES: Well, the rules are still under construction, we're told.
VAN SUSTEREN: That means we didn't get them.
THIRUVENGADAM: We haven't gotten them yet. But they are still in the works is what we are promised.
VAN SUSTEREN: The cow is out of the barn in the sense that the money has been given out.
VAN SUSTEREN: And the rules haven't been written as promised?
THIRUVENGADAM: That is --
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, do we know if there has been any external influence on the treasury in terms of how they divvy up this money?
THIRUVENGADAM: Well, that's going to definitely depend on who you ask. The official word is it's not something that can really be determined.
The special inspector general that is overseeing the special bank bailout program a couple weeks ago put out a report that said essentially that all contact between lobbyists and Treasury officials, between congressional representatives and Treasury officials isn't being tracked.
So in their view there is no way to say how much influence any of these entities might have had on the program or on decisions to give certain banks aid.
VAN SUSTEREN: The reason I even know about this report is because I read your article. I went to the inspector general's report that you talked about, and it lists four different incidences.
Here is one example. There was correspondence to treasury that says, "I urge you to give some bank's application all due and prompt consideration." Another one says "Our office would like to encourage your agency to give the banks application full and fair consideration."
So clearly, somebody is asking the Treasury Department to do something.
THIRUVENGADAM: Right, definitely. There are definitely these discussions going on. It is just not clear who is having them and when they are talking about them, exactly who they are talking about and exactly what the outcome is.
But people are definitely going to be putting two and two together and saying if this representative is contacting Treasury and talking about this bank, then obviously, they will get the message no matter what is said or is not said that they are trying to help out this certain constituent out.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I suppose if we had rules in effect as promised we would have more information about this. Have logs been kept as to who has had conversations with Treasury?
THIRUVENGADAM: No. The initial plan was to keep these logs and to make them public on the Web site that Treasury had so that people can keep track of who is talking to whom about these --
VAN SUSTEREN: Where are they?
THIRUVENGADAM: They are not there yet. They ran into a couple of issues, and one of the issues that's been holding up the process is free speech. So how do you go about not limiting people's free speech to talk to these officials while at the same time limiting their influence on these programs?
VAN SUSTEREN: You can wave your free speech if you want the cash, if you want the bailout.
The other thing is they did promise it, and they can also redact it without telling us the names are so we have some idea. And the fact that they promised the transparency, they promised the rule, and six months later we don't have it.
THIRUVENGADAM: Right. It definitely seems like this was something that was coming off of the momentum that we have got a new administration, this is change. We are going to do things differently. Here is one way we are going to do things differently.
VAN SUSTEREN: And you are being very polite. I would say we have been had.
Anyway, great reporting. Good work on this, and stand up. But we have been had on this. Anyway, thank you, Meena, very much.
THIRUVENGADAM: Thank you.
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