September 3, 2010
Hon. Gary Gensler, Chairman
Hon. Sheila Bair, Chairman
Hon. Ben Bernanke, Chairman
Hon. John Walsh, Acting Comptroller
Hon. Mary Schapiro, Chairman
Hon. Timothy Geithner, Secretary
Re: Transparency in the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
Americans for Financial Reform and the undersigned groups thank each of the agencies that have adopted a voluntary transparency policy for the implementation and rulemaking process for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). For instance, the FDIC’s transparency includes public roundtable discussions and disclosure of all meetings with private sector individuals—on a bi-weekly basis—in regard to the subject matter of the meeting and the name and affiliation of the individuals. Unfortunately, this policy only applies to senior officials of the FDIC and telephone calls and teleconference calls are excluded from the new transparency model. A significant amount of lobbying is done over the telephone to staff at all levels of an agency.
We urge those agencies that have yet to adopt a transparency policy to do so. Also, we encourage all agencies to adopt transparency measures that require disclosure of the details of all private meetings concerning implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. Such disclosure should include all telephone calls and conference calls, and report the actions and positions advocated by lobbyists and other private sector individuals. Additionally, all materials submitted should be disclosed. This disclosure will allow all stakeholders the opportunity to evaluate and offer their views on specific proposals, aiding agencies in promulgating rules that will serve not just the banks and industry, but also the public at large. Adoption of such an open-door policy will enhance transparency and ensure greater public access to the implementation and rulemaking processes, similar to that which banks and other financial industry interests have long enjoyed.
The Dodd-Frank Act established the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to ensure financial stability and promote market discipline and created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to protect consumers in the financial marketplace. We encourage the FSOC and CFPB to each adopt transparency measures requiring disclosure of all private meetings with lobbyists and other individuals from the private sector. This should be inclusive of telephone calls and conference calls, and the actions and positions advocated by lobbyists and other private sector individuals, as well as all materials submitted by them, as we have urged each of you to do within your own agencies.
Thank you for considering the Americans for Financial Reform position on these important issues. For more information, please contact Craig Mehall, Public Citizen.
Americans for Financial Reform