The Senate voted today to release the second tranche of the TARP money:

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate voted to release the second tranche of $350 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to the Treasury, in a close vote that was a clear indication of the uncertainty by lawmakers about the program.

The vote was 52 to 42 in favor of allowing the Treasury to access the money.

The Senate was technically voting against a resolution of disapproval, introduced by Republican senators, seeking to prevent the release of the funds. It required a simple majority of the Senate to be defeated, thereby allowing the money to be released to the Treasury in two weeks’ time.

The outcome of the vote was also a result of the last-minute lobbying campaign by senior officials of President Barack Obama’s incoming administration, who held meetings with senators of both parties, and twice wrote letters detailing their commitment to reform the controversial program.

I opposed the TARP from the beginning and I think I’ve been proven correct in that assessment. The first $350 billion was not deployed successfully and I don’t expect the second half to be anymore effective. At least Barney Frank is insisting on conditions for taking TARP money (if Congress actually sticks to their guns). You can be sure that any company applying for TARP money in the future really needs it because no sane CEO of a sound company will accept the restrictions. As to whether we should be bailing out failure, I think you know where I stand on that.