Authors: Donald F. Kettl
Fannie Mae Foundation

No other governmental organization ever created can rival the complex patterns of accountability created to manage the bailout of the savings and loan industry. This complexity has, in turn, led to criticism that the bailout structure is too unwieldy to be managerially effective or politically accountable. While the structure does indeed immensely complicate these problems, it is an inevitable product of the political realities that shaped the bailout strategy. The real issues in maintaining accountability to the public for the bailout are: reporting clearly on how the money is being used; improving Congress's ability to track the complex management of the bailout; and using government officials, not contractors, to supervise the government's goals. Indeed, the biggest potential problem of accountability in the savings and loan rescue is not the convoluted political structure at the top, but the heavy reliance on private contractors at the bottom.

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