TARP travel rules published by US Treasury

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The U.S.

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The U.S. Treasury Department today published new rules in the Federal Register governing some meeting, event, incentive and travel expenses for companies that received Troubled Asset Relief Program funds.

The new guidelines, which today enter a 60-day comment period before finalization, focus on executive compensation and corporate governance, and would require TARP recipients “to eliminate excessive and luxury expenditures,” as defined by the Treasury Secretary. Those could include “entertainment or events, office and facility renovations, aviation or other transportation services, and other similar items, activities or events,” the rule states.

According the new guidelines, TARP-receiving companies will have to identify such expenses, establish policies, set approval processes, require “prompt internal reporting of violations” and “mandate accountability for adherence” to such policies.

Fearing the worst, some industry organizations, including the U.S. Travel Association and the National Business Travel Association, applauded the new guidelines. U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow in a statement last week said, “We are pleased that after months of discussion with the Obama Administration and our industry’s full-court press on the value of meetings, events and incentives, these regulations do not do any further harm to the meetings and events marketplace.”

Though the rule is not final until the conclusion of public comment period on Aug. 14, Dow said, “We do not expect these rules to change in any material way.”

NBTA said the Treasury Department through the rule is “recognizing the value of an effective corporate travel and meetings policy.” NBTA president Kevin Maguire last week in a statement said, “Corporate travel is vital to the success and growth of businesses, local economies, and millions of American jobs. NBTA is pleased that Treasury has pointed to travel management as a tool to contain costs and ensure efficient and effective corporate travel and practices.”

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