View TARP contracts through BailoutSleuth databases

Earlier this month, BailoutSleuth reported on the Congressional Oversight Panel's hearings and written report (more here and here) on Treasury's outsourcing of TARP.

Treasury has 96 contracts and agreements worth $436.7 million for private companies doing work on the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The oversight panel noted that the "vast majority" of people working on TARP get their paychecks from private companies rather than the federal government. "Although Treasury deserves credit for its efforts toward improving the contracting process, given the extensive involvement of private actors in a program of critical public significance, further improvements can and should be made," the panel wrote in its report.

BailoutSleuth has followed up by obtaining from the COP its data on contracts and subcontracts and uploading it to our site. Now you can search through the contracts to see which firms are benefiting most from TARP work.

We've broken the data into two separate databases -- one for contractors and one for subcontractors -- that you can search below.

Scroll down to view instructions on what's in the databases and how to use the information.

Click here to load this Caspio Online Database app.

Click here to load this Caspio Online Database app.

Treasury has two kinds of contracts for the TARP program: procurement contracts and financial agency agreements. Procurement contracts are the standard way the government gets goods and services from private companies, and they are governed by federal acquisition regulations.

Financial agency agreements, on the other hand, allow private companies to perform "inherently government functions." In other words, according to the oversight panel, "the company acts on behalf of Treasury and is a fiduciary of the United States."

Both types of contracts are listed in the first database. In the second database, you can see the subcontractors that those firms hired.

Some definitions and other information to be aware of as you search the databases:

  • "Obligated value" is the amount that Treasury is obligated to pay the contractors under the terms of the deal.

  • The "expended value" is the amount that Treasury owes for goods and services that have already been delivered.

  • "Original potential contract value" is the amount listed in the base contract.

  • "Adjusted potential contract value" includes the value of the base contract, plus follow-up task orders and modifications. In some cases, it's a more accurate representation of the contract's value.

  • It is difficult to identify the exact value of  a task or delivery order contract, as the quantities of goods and services is not made at the time of the award. Instead, that data is supplied through subsequent task orders or delivery orders.

  • Definitive contracts, on the other hand, have defined terms.

  • In the subcontractor database, "contract value" refers to the amount payable from the agent to the subcontractor.

  • Data on financial agents' subcontractors is based on their own representations, not those of Treasury.

Finally, a note on which comapnies benefited the most from the millions expended to administer TARP.

The procurement contractor earning the most money, in terms of obligated value, is PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has three contracts worth a total of $25.8 million. The law firm Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP leads in terms of adjusted potential contract value, with four contracts worth up to $147.6 million.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have the most valuable financial agency agreements, with obligated values totaling $126.7 million and $88.8 million, respectively. Critics have questioned whether it was appropriate for Treasury to contract with these companies to do work on the HAMP program, given their own desperate financial troubles.

Cadwalader also has the largest procurement subcontract, worth $3.94 million, for doing work for the Oklahoma-based law firm Anderson, McCoy & Orta. That deal was criticized by the COP, since the Oklahoma firm won its contract in part because it is classified as a "small disadvantaged business" but eventually subcontracted 80 percent of the work to Cadwalader. "Thus, although on the surface it appears that the contract is being performed by a small business, in actuality a large business is essentially responsible for performance," the panel wrote.

Ernst & Young LLP is earning more than any other financial agent subcontractor, holding two contractors worth a combined $21.5 million for work with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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