The Treasury Department has hired the law firms of Venable LLP and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP to provide advice about the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
The Treasury Department did not issue press releases about the contracts - as it did with earlier TARP legal-services deals - but posted copies on its web site. Although the links to the contracts did not work, BailoutSleuth was able to access them by deleting extraneous information in their web addresses.
The contract we found for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has no specific value, just a minimum of $50,000 and a maximum of $5,000,000. Unfortunately, the hourly rate schedule is redacted, so it is impossible to know whether this is a good deal for the taxpayer.
The contract with Venable has the same value range, and the task order is identical as well. Both last from Feb. 20, 2009 to Aug. 19, 2009.
According to the agreement, the firms will prepare documents related to Treasury investments under the Capital Purchase Program, the part of the TARP program dedicated to shoring up the financial services industry.
The law firms will also provide advice on the government's investments in mutual holding companies, and will provide "guidance in the formulation of equity investment or debt transaction structures and documentation."
This is the second contract the Treasury Department has awarded Simpson Thacher & Bartlett for legal advice for the TARP program. Under a previous agreement reached in October, the firm was to receive $300,000 for its services.
This is Venable's first contract with the TARP program.
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