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“Bailout” or “Investment”?

October 19, 2010

The Department of the Treasury continues to sell off the Citigroup shares it acquired last year as part of the government’s TARP program.  That isn’t necessarily news — though that fact didn’t stand in the way of the Treasury issuing another press release on it this morning.

Photo by "The Jamoker." Some rights reserved

Said press release also pauses to note that of the original $45 million bailout of / investment in (which phrase you choose reflects your bias) Citigroup, almost all of it — $41.6 million and counting — has been recouped through the sale of the financial giant’s common stock.  That is genuinely impressive, and probably would be newsworthy, except that the very same number was cited in a Treasury press release issued on September 30.

Of course, as everyone knows, press releases are nothing more than marketing and PR masquerading as news.  The Treasury’s communications are probably best understood in that context: as a hedge against widespread public dislike of TARP.  That sentiment has been revitalized this election season, as the “bailout” has once again become a lightning rod, routinely marched out as a “failed” program in ads by political candidates, especially Republicans (despite the fact that TARP was passed during the Bush administration with widespread support from both parties.)

For more on TARP in this blog, see Peter Schwartz’s September 21 post.

The knowledgemosaic platform offers extensive coverage of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.  Search on that phrase — use quotation marks — in Agency Materials (468 results), Federal Fundamentals (273 results), and Law Firm Memos (356 results).  You can also do an SEC Filings search targeting public companies that received TARP assistance.

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