It's something any bank would demand to know before handing out a loan: Where's the money going?
But after receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation's largest banks say they can't track exactly how they're spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it.
"We've lent some of it. We've not lent some of it. We've not given any accounting of, 'Here's how we're doing it,'" said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. "We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to."
Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals.
The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages.
Crisscrossing the country in corporate jets may no longer fly in Detroit after car executives got a dressing down from Congress. But on Wall Street, the coveted executive perk has hardly been grounded.
Six financial firms that received billions in bailout dollars still own and operate fleets of jets to carry executives to company events and sometimes personal trips, according to an Associated Press review.
President George W. Bush gave the U.S. automakers $17.4 billion in emergency rescue loans, but the fate of the industry is in the hands of President-elect Barack Obama.
Simply letting the carmakers collapse was not an option amid a recession, housing slump and financial credit crunch, Bush said in announcing the short-term loans and demanding tough concessions from the automakers and their employees.
W. Mark Felt, the former FBI second-in-command who revealed himself as "Deep Throat" 30 years after he tipped off reporters to the Watergate scandal that toppled a president, has died. He was 95.
Felt died Thursday in Santa Rosa after suffering from congestive heart failure for several months, said family friend John D. O'Connor, who wrote the 2005 Vanity Fair article uncovering Felt's secret.
Blackwater Worldwide, the company of mercenaries that ran amok in the Iraq war and gunned down civilians in an incident that brough worldwide condemnation and indictments against several of its operatives, could lose its license to operate in that war-torn country.
A report from the State Department's Inspector General's office says the company's behavior is in conflict with the stated goals and values of the United States, which means it could further damage American credibility on the world stage.Read More
An impeachment inquiry against Gov. Rod Blagojevich hit a speed bump shortly after getting under way, with state lawmakers seeking guidance from federal prosecutors and postponing any real action until the governor's attorney arrives.
The attorney, Ed Genson, planned to attend Wednesday's meeting of a special Illinois House committee reviewing potential impeachment and may provide the first hint of the embattled Democratic governor's strategy.
As unemployment rises painfully higher and nest eggs are shattered, the Federal Reserve is prepared slash a key interest rate — perhaps to an all-time low — in a desperate bid to stem the country's economic slide.
With the Fed's key rate dropping ever closer to zero, the central bank is moving into uncharted territory.
Whether it's a Tiffany diamond or a three-year-old lawnmower, more and more Americans from all social classes are pawning their possessions to make ends meet.
Pawn shop owners see strong business across the country, even in unexpected locales like Beverly Hills, the mecca of luxury living and shopping.
"Banks aren't lending so people are coming here for short-term loans against collateral like diamonds, watches and other jewelry," said Jordan Tabach-Bank, CEO of Beverly Loan Co, self-described "pawnbroker to the stars."
Detroit automakers are awaiting a financial lifeline from the White House to provide short-term stability to two companies on the brink of collapse which the Bush administration is currently working on.
"An abrupt bankruptcy for autos could be devastating for the economy," President George W. Bush told reporters Monday aboard Air Force One during an unannounced trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. "We're now in the process of working with the stakeholders on a way forward. We're not quite ready to announce that yet."