Government Rescue Spending: Clear or Cloudy?

But the Treasury isn't revealing which banks have applied and which have received preliminary approval. McLaughlin said that the department would only provide information on banks that have already received money from the program.

When "everything is finalized, that's when it's appropriate to post that information," she said.

Some say the Treasury should be disclosing the names of the institutions that have applied for its help.

"I think that any time you're asking for money from the government, it should be a matter of public record," Allison said.

Will the Government Lose Money?

Still, others, including O'Driscoll, say they understand why the Treasury would want to guard such information.

"It's legitimate to say, 'If we tell you everybody who needs money, all it's going to do is cause a run on the banks, and that defeats the purpose,'" O'Driscoll said.

Deborah Lucas, a finance professor at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, said her gripe about the Treasury Department's disclosure practices revolved around the true value of the Treasury's investments in banks participating in the Capital Purchase Program.

In return for its investments in banks, the Treasury is receiving preferred shares in the banks.

In a statement issued last month, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen said the program was "an investment, not an expenditure" and said there was "no reason to expect this program will cost taxpayers anything."

But Lucas said that the market rate for the shares is lower than what the Treasury is paying for them.

Under fair value accounting principles, Lucas said, the Treasury should be reporting the actual value of its stakes in the bank –- but it's not.

"I think that they were trying to do things very quickly because they felt there was a crisis so that was sort of an excuse to not look too closely at how much things are really costing," she said.

Asked about Lucas' concern, the Treasury Department did not immediately provide a response.

With reports from ABC News' Charles Herman.

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