April 26, 2010
Dear Senators Sanders, Feingold, DeMint and Vitter:
As members of Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition of over 250 consumer, employee, investor, community and civil rights groups, we write you today to convey our strong support for your Federal Reserve transparency amendment to the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010.
This amendment is similar to S.604, the Federal Reserve Sunshine Act, which was offered to last year’s Budget Resolution and passed the Senate on a bi-partisan vote of 59-39 on April 1, 2009. It now has 33 bi-partisan co-sponsors; and the Federal Reserve Transparency Act (H.R. 1207) has 320 bi-partisan co-sponsors (a version of which passed the House Financial Services Committee by a vote of 43-28 and was incorporated into the financial reform bill that passed the House last December).
While the Senate financial reform bill attempts to address the lack of transparency at the Fed, as currently drafted, much of the information regarding the details of who received this financial assistance could be kept secret forever.
As long as the Federal Reserve is allowed to keep the information on their loans secret, we may never know the true financial condition of the banking system. The lack of transparency at the Fed could lead to an even bigger crisis in the future.
This amendment does not take away the “independence” of the Fed, and it does not put monetary policy into the hands of Congress. This amendment simply requires the GAO to conduct an independent audit of the Fed and requires the Fed to release the names of the recipients of more than $2 trillion in taxpayer-backed assistance.
We strongly support your efforts to increase transparency at the Federal Reserve and your amendment.
Americans for Financial Reform