Hey Fed Boys, We Didn't See What You Did There. But We'd Really Love To.
Ohhhhhh how the tables turn. Don't go celebrating just yet, Zimbabwe Ben, we're coming for dat ass and it won't be pretty.
Court Orders Fed to Disclose Emergency Bank Loans (via Bloomberg):
The Federal Reserve must for the first time identify the companies in its emergency lending programs after losing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
Manhattan Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ruled against the central bank yesterday, rejecting the argument that loan records aren’t covered by the law because their disclosure would harm borrowers’ competitive positions.
The Fed has refused to name the financial firms it lent to or disclose the amounts or the assets put up as collateral under 11 programs, most put in place during the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression, saying that doing so might set off a run by depositors and unsettle shareholders. Bloomberg LP, the New York-based company majority-owned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, sued on Nov. 7 on behalf of its Bloomberg News unit.
“The Federal Reserve has to be accountable for the decisions that it makes,” said U.S. Representative Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, after Preska’s ruling. “It’s one thing to say that the Federal Reserve is an independent institution. It’s another thing to say that it can keep us all in the dark.”
The judge said the central bank “improperly withheld agency records” by “conducting an inadequate search” after Bloomberg News reporters filed a request under the information act. She gave the Fed five days to turn over documents it told the reporters it located, including 231 pages of reports, and said it must look for more at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which runs most of the loan programs.
The central bank “essentially speculates on how a borrower might enter a downward spiral of financial instability if its participation in the Federal Reserve lending programs were to be disclosed,” Preska wrote. “Conjecture, without evidence of imminent harm, simply fails to meet the Board’s burden” of proof.
David Skidmore, a Fed spokesman who said the board’s staff was reviewing the 47-page ruling, declined to comment on whether the central bank would appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York.
I'm shocked that FoIA would even work on the Fed. Here I thought the evil cabal was above that sort of thing?
The U.S. House may vote as soon as next month on a bill to require the Fed to submit to audits by the Government Accountability Office, said Representative Scott Garrett, a New Jersey Republican on the Financial Services Committee.I hate to break this to Bloomberg in case this is news to them but, uh, the Fed isn't exactly a government agency. That's really cute though.
The judge’s ruling “is strikingly good news,” Garrett said. “This is what the American people have been asking for.”
The Freedom of Information Act obliges federal agencies to make government documents available to the press and public. The Bloomberg suit, filed in New York, didn’t seek money damages.
In case you missed my $0.02 on the concept of a "Fed audit", they may be found here. It's laughable at best that we can accomplish anything by cracking open their books. Not to discount Ron Paul's determination but an audit is only as good as the rules upon which it is conducted. Seeing as how the Fed provides its own accounting, there is no way any outside source could conclude anything of value.
Harpoon the fuckers already and put them out of their misery. Or rather, put us out of ours. Thanks!