http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=41124 For Auto Bailout to Be Legal, Automakers Must Now be Considered ‘Financial Institutions’ Friday, December 19, 2008 By Fred Lucas, Staff Writer President George W. Bush pauses during a statement on the auto industry at the White House on Friday, December 19, 2008 in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)(CNSNews.com) – Some critics are questioning the propriety and even legality of using money from the $700-billion financial-industry bailout bill that Congress passed in October to give a $17.4-billion bailout to Chrysler and General Motors. That legislation, which created the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), expressly limited the Executive Branch to using the funding the law approved to purchase assets from “financial institutions.” A briefing paper put out by the conservative Heritage Foundation said that using the TARP money to bailout an auto company would be “legally wrong” since an auto company is not a “financial institution.” CNSNews.com asked the White House press office whether the administration was in fact now defining the auto companies as “financial institutions” under the terms of the TARP law. The White House did not answer the question and referred CNSNews.com to the Treasury Department. The Treasury Department has not responded to CNSNews.com’s question as to whether it is now considering General Motors and Chrysler “financial institutions” under the terms of the TARP law.