Former Goldman Sachs exec, Treasury Secretary Paulson, single handedly orchestrated the 2008 financial bailout blanketed in secrecy!
The bailout measures of late 2008 may have consequences at least as grave for an open society as the response to 9/11 in 2001. Many members of Congress felt coerced at the time into voting against their inclinations, and the normal procedures for orderly consideration of a bill were dispensed with.
The excuse for bypassing normal legislative procedures was the existence of an emergency. But one of the most reprehensible features of the legislation, that allowed Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to permit bailed-out institutions to use public money for exorbitant salaries and bonuses, was inserted by Paulson after the immediate crisis had passed.
According to Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vermont) the bailout bill originally called for a cap on executive salaries, but Paulson changed the requirement at the last minute. Welch and other members of Congress were enraged by "news that banks getting taxpayer-funded bailouts are still paying exorbitant salaries, bonuses, and other benefits." In addition, as the Associated Press reported in October 2008, "Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. questioned allowing banks that accept bailout bucks to continue paying dividends on their common stock. ‘There are far better uses of taxpayer dollars than continuing dividend payments to shareholders,’ he said."
Even more reprehensible is the fact that after the bailouts, Paulson and the Treasury Department refused to provide details of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) spending of hundreds of billions of dollars, while the New York Federal Reserve refused to provide information about its own bailout (using government-backed loans) that amounted to trillions. This lack of transparency was challenged by Fox TV in a FOIA suit against the Treasury Department, and a suit by Bloomberg News against the Fed.