The Conglomerate catches a political bait-and-switch afoot in the TARP regulations:
After the hullabaloo about the $440,000 AIG retreat in October 2008, and news in January of John Thain’s $1.2 million office renovations, and the Citigroup plane fiasco, the luxury expenditures section of ARRA was inevitable. The Act requires that the boards of TARP recipients adopt "a companywide policy regarding excessive or luxury expenditures …" . . .
Buried in Treasury’s June 15 interim final rule on TARP Standards for Compensation and Corporate Governance is a requirement that the boards of TARP recipients by September 19th "adopt an excessive or luxury expenditures policy, provide this policy to Treasury and its primary regulatory agency, and post the text of this policy on its Internet website, if the TARP recipient maintains a company website. After adoption of the policy, the TARP recipient must maintain the policy during the remaining TARP period."
As the executive summary explains, Sarbanes-Oxley provided a similar method of disclosure of codes of ethics under Section 406. this doesn’t work. Letting companies make up their own rules and then disclose when they break them is a bad idea. Clearly the incentive for the company is to make the policy as weak as possible.
Note that these regulations, unlike Section 406, don’t require disclosure of any waivers granted from the policy, just the policy itself and any amendments to it.
It’s just part of the modern Orwellian trend among corporations in which policies are given names describing them as the exact opposite of what they really are.
"Document retention" policies usually say little about retaining documents and a whole lot about destroying them. "Employee leave" and "sexual harassment" policies typically create Byzantine procedures for taking leave and filing complaints designed to provide a basis for terminating the employee or ignoring the harassment.
No surprise to see the government getting in on the act.