A bill sponsored by Ron Paul and Alan Grayson to thoroughly audit the Fed, passed the House. However in a brazen move that ought to offend the sensibilities of every citizen, the Fed is lobbying Senate members to water down the bill so that it is meaningless.
The Huffington Post tells the story in Fed Privately Lobbying Against Audit.
The Federal Reserve is privately lobbying against a bipartisan Senate amendment that would open the central bank to an audit by the Government Accountability Office, according to documents distributed to Senate offices by a Fed official.Dodd Bill Would Allow Fed To Hide Its Spending
In order to obtain the documents, HuffPost agreed not to reveal the name of the Federal Reserve official who did the specific lobbying in question.
"As I mentioned, we believe that the bipartisan Corker-Merkley provision in the Dodd Bill is quite strong and addresses issues of transparency and disclosure without impinging on the independence of monetary policy," the official goes on.
Merkley teamed with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on an audit provision, but Merkley himself says he'd prefer to go further. "I appreciate Representative [Alan] Grayson's concerns over accountability at the Federal Reserve. I have been a strong proponent of Fed reform and voted against the re-confirmation of Ben Bernanke because the Fed has been so lax in using its regulatory powers," Merkley said in a statement to HuffPost, responding to an analysis from Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) showing that the Senate bill did not meaningfully expand transparency.
The Fed argument is a replay of a tactic that the bank tried in the House. Instead of outright opposition, the Fed backed an amendment in the lower chamber from Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), which the bank said would expand transparency but not interfere with monetary policy. It became clear, however, that the amendment would not expand transparency and was an attempt to defeat the audit in general. The Watt amendment was soundly defeated.
The Corker-Merkley amendment is the Senate version of the Watt amendment and the Fed is once again arguing that the broader amendment will impinge on the independence of monetary policy.
"The Sanders amendment, however, would directly interfere with monetary policy," argues the Fed official. "The amendment removes the current statutory protection for core monetary policy activities from GAO audit and would permit the GAO to audit monetary policy decisions and the decisionmaking process itself."
Last year, the Fed brought on Enron's former top lobbyist, Linda Robertson, to help fend off the audit. "Robertson would help the Fed manage relations with lawmakers seeking greater oversight of a central bank that has used emergency powers to prevent Wall Street's demise," Bloomberg reported
Inquiring minds are reading Dodd Bill Would Allow Fed To Hide Its Spending.
The Wall Street reform bill headed for a test vote on the Senate floor Monday night will allow the Federal Reserve to continue to pump trillions of dollars into major banks largely in secrecy, the co-author of House language that would open the central bank to an audit charged in a memo to the Senate.What You Can Do
"The Senate has a provision in its reform bill that purports to audit the Fed. But, it really doesn't do anything of the sort. I'm going to run down the details for you, and reprint the legislative language so you can read it yourself," writes Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.).
It would not allow the GAO to look into the Fed's massive purchase of toxic assets, its hundreds of billions in foreign currency swaps with other central banks or its open market operations, among other restrictions.
Grayson and co-author Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) passed legislation through the House that would allow the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit the Federal Reserve and, after a delay, release the information to Congress. It was a remarkable victory, with a populist coalition beating back the combined lobbying efforts of the Treasury Department, the Fed and Wall Street banks. ....
All you need to know is that if the Fed is for the Dodd bill or the Corker-Merkley provision, then you do not want either.
Please phone and fax your senators and tell them you want the Fed audited fully, and you do NOT want the watered down Dodd bill or the or the Corker-Merkley provision.
Tell them you do support the Grayson/Ron Paul bill exactly as passed by the house.
Here is a directory sorted by state of all the Senators of the 111th Congress.
You can also look up the phone numbers in the Online Directory For The 111th Congress but the first link may be easier to use for just senators.
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Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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