Well, you and all of the other NTRS-bashers on this thread obviously don't know anything about the client base that Northern markets to. First, the golf tournament is a known 5 year contract that was begun a full year before TARP came about. Second, regardless of the economy and how it looks, a company would not back out of this at any late date because of the negative publicity. In addition, much of the revenue from the tournament funds local charities in CA. Think of the headlines of that one: Northern Trust abandons charities.
Third, you don't know how the ultra-rich that are the core of Northern's personal and client base expect to be treated. If you don't wine and dine them, they think they're not wanted. That's when they go looking for other providers. Look at past client conferences and events that Northern has sponsored over the years. There was nothing unusual here. Well, I change my mind -- Northern's execs and employees didn't participate in the golf. According to news reports, the company staff and management were all business showing up in suits and not golf apparel.
Fourth, leave to members of congress (the opposite of progress) to criticize something that they do themselves. Many of them just got back from junkets to Europe and other vacation spots with the public picking up the tabs for them and their spouses and maybe families. Go do some searches of John Kerry and Barnie Frank and see when they have enjoyed themselves at taxpayer expense.