Someone else who has been paying attention dismisses Sen. Bakk’s explanation of preserving Excelsior’s privacy regarding its spending of $40 million.
Bakk’s surreptitious maneuver in 2008 to make financial information on IRRRB borrowers unavailable to the public is not justified by his stated concern that transparency might cause some companies not to seek financial assistance from the IRRRB. Companies that cannot withstand public scrutiny should not receive public money. The IRRRB claims it should protect the privacy of borrowers as a bank would. Although a private, for-profit, investment institution may need to do this, it is not appropriate for a government agency responsible for spending millions of public dollars for the public good. The IRRRB’s defense that loans are approved at a public meeting is laughable, given that the borrower’s financial information is kept confidential even at that point and that prior to this year these meetings were typically used to rubber-stamp decisions already made in closed committee meetings.