Did GM pay off its bailout loans by using other government loans?

Story from Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.

Moderate Republican Chuck Grassley, who supported Obama’s bailouts, wants to know how GM paid off their debts. He wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Excerpt:

General Motors (GM) yesterday announced that it repaid its TARP loans. I am concerned, however, that this announcement is not what it seems. In fact, it appears to be nothing more than an elaborate TARP money shuffle.

On Tuesday of this week, Mr. Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for TARP, testified before the Senate Finance Committee. During his testimony Mr. Barofsky addressed GM’s recent debt repayment activity, and stated that the funds GM is using to repay its TARP debt are not coming from GM earnings.

Instead, GM seems to be using TARP funds from an escrow account at Treasury to make the debt repayments. The most recent quarterly report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for TARP says “The source of funds for these quarterly [debt] payments will be other TARP funds currently held in an escrow account.” See, Office of the Special Inspector General for TARP, Quarterly Report to Congress dated April 20, 2010, page 115.

Furthermore, Exhibit 99.1 of the Form 8K filed by GM with the SEC on November 16, 2009, seems to confirm that the source of funds for GM’s debt repayments was a multi-billion dollar escrow account at Treasury—not from earnings.

[…]In reality, it looks like GM merely used one source of TARP funds to repay another. The taxpayers are still on the hook, and whether TARP funds are ultimately recovered depends entirely on the government’s ability to sell GM stock in the future. Treasury has merely exchanged a legal right to repayment for an uncertain hope of sharing in the future growth of GM. A debt-for-equity swap is not a repayment.

Ed summarizes:

In other words, this is just a shell game. As Jim Vicevich points out, it’s akin to paying off your Visa credit card with your Mastercard — and then bragging about your financial condition. Taxpayers are still on the hook for GM. Nothing at all has changed.

Instead, we have another good reason for government to refrain from bailing out private companies. It makes them act like government when it comes to transparency about their finances. This claim really does prove that GM now stands for Government Motors.

Michelle Malkin also has a good column here about MORE connections between Democrats and rich Wall Street investment bankers. The Democrats are tightly connected with large corporations and investment banks. As a small government conservative, I find this alarming and unsettling. I believe in separation of government and corporations.

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