They're Comin for Dat Ass, Bernanke: Defining "Federal Reserve Accountability"

Zimbabwe Ben's days are numbered, at least his days of secrecy. Cover up, ZB, they're comin for dat ass!


Proponents of auditing the Federal Reserve have a new bill to support their cause. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) introduced legislation today to require the Government Accountability Office to audit several of the central bank’s emergency lending programs that were created during the financial crisis.

The two junior senators are joining a movement that has drawn more than two-thirds of the House and a third of the Senate. But their legislation, the Federal Reserve Accountability Act, is intended to sidestep criticism that auditing the central bank would hinder the Fed’s independence in conducting monetary policy. The bill directs the GAO — the investigative arm of Congress — to audit emergency lending programs that aren’t already subject to government audits. (Institution-specific lending programs, such as those tied to AIG and Bear Stearns, are already open to GAO review, as are programs conducted jointly with the Treasury Department.)

To avoid disrupting markets, the legislation directs the GAO to redact from its reports the names of specific institutions using the programs and “identifying details regarding assets or collateral” held in the audited facilities. But that information would be released one year after each program is no longer used. The legislation specifically cites programs created under the Fed’s 13.3 authority, which allows central bank lending to any firm in “unusual and exigent” circumstances: the money market investor funding facility, the asset-backed commercial paper money market mutual fund liquidity facility, the term asset-backed securities loan facility, the primary dealer credit facility and the commercial paper funding facility.

Mr. Merkley, in a statement, said the legislation “strikes the right balance between protecting taxpayer dollars and respecting the central bank’s responsibility to manage monetary policy.” Mr. Corker said it allows audits of emergency facilities “without inappropriately compromising the independence of the Fed or politicizing its role in crafting monetary policy.”

Fed officials may not necessarily see it that way. The bill avoids review of the Fed’s regular lending programs, such as the longstanding discount window, and its interest-rate decisions. But some of the emergency programs are central to monetary policy operations that the Fed wants to keep outside of GAO review. Still, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and other officials have indicated a willingness to work with lawmakers on more disclosure outside of any GAO reviews. Last month, Fed General Counsel Scott Alvarez said the Fed is “giving serious consideration” to releasing the names of firms that receive loans from the central bank.

Ah auditing the Fed, one of my favorite subjects. See also Sept 29th's Auditing the Fed: Redux and July 15th's You Want to Audit the Fed. But Why? for my thoughts.

Basically it can be summed up in less than a sentence: big fucking whoop.

In other words, if you think they haven't tossed the bodies in the water by now you're out of your damn mind. The Fed knows as long as it can buy enough time it will weasel its way out of this one way or another and if not, at least they have enough goons to work overtime dissolving bones in vats of acid or whatever it is they've got to do.

Silly rabbit, audits are for kids. If we're going to dismantle the Fed, we're A) going to have to come at them with something scarier than an audit (doesn't Citigroup pass its audits every year? That's what I thought.) and B) next time surprise attack their asses. Seriously? They've had months to bury bodies. Lehman was over a year ago. What's the delay? We're acting as though we're not dealing with a diabolical cabal over here, wtf?

The Fed doesn't need an audit, it needs a good sadistic proctologist and a nice hard spanking. For starters.

Oh and psst, "Federal Reserve Accountability" is an oxymoron, you cute little junior Senators. Just FYI.

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.