AFR Supports Auditing the Federal Reserve

AFR and other groups sent this letter (PDF) to members of the House Financial Services Committee.

Dear Chairman Frank, Ranking Member Bachus, and Members of the Committee,

As members of Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition of nearly 200 consumer, employee, investor, community and civil rights groups, we write you today to convey our strong support for the amendment to H.R. 3996, the Financial Stability Improvement Act of 2009, offered by Representatives Ron Paul and Alan Grayson.

This amendment subjects the Federal Reserve to an audit by the General
Accountability Office within one year of enactment. This audit would shed light on questions the Fed has so far refused to answer, including the names of financial institutions that have received special loans and the conditions under which those loans were made. To shield policy discussions from political influence, the amendment exempts transcripts or minutes of meetings of the Board of Governors or of the Federal Open Market Committee. It also provides for delayed release of audit information dealing with individual market actions.

In responding to the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has committed more than $1 trillion to aid troubled financial institutions through loans and asset purchases – without any of the restrictions on such things as executive compensation that came with funding from the Treasury under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

Also, unlike the Treasury, which has posted all TARP transactions on its website, the Fed has kept most of the transactions secret.

In creating the Federal Reserve nearly 100 years ago, the Congress envisioned a central bank free from political pressure. But the structure that may have once ensured independence now appears to put the Fed much closer to the financial industry than the American people, who deserve to know who the beneficiaries are.

We strongly support transparency at the Federal Reserve and the Paul-Grayson Amendment.

Americans for Financial Reform
A New Way Forward
Accountable America
Campaign for America’s Future
Change to Win Investment Group
Consumer Action
Empire Justice Center
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
National Association of Consumer Advocates
National Association of Investment Professionals
Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP)
New Jersey Citizen Action
Public Citizen
US Action