Zero Hedge 04/23/2010
Once again we get confirmation that Chris Dodd is nothing but a paid manservant for his Federal Reserve masters, in addition to being a lame duck, whose last days in office are meant to do everything to allow the old-school Wall Street ways of endless secrecy and Fed bailouts to continue in perpetuity. As Ryan Grim points out “Alan Grayson and co-author Rep. Ron Paul 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. The Senate has been more hostile territory for the Fed audit provision. Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) opposes the Grayson-Paul version, but allowed a much more restrictive audit proposal from Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) into his bill.” Why and how Dodd believes he can stand against this critical issue, that over 80% of America supports by demanding Fed transparency, is beyond any rational attempts at explanation. How he hopes to get away with it is even more mindboggling.
From the Huffington Post:
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.
“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.).
Grayson’s summary of the bill’s shortcomings, presented below, indicate that the “Senate bill would allow an audit of the TALF program and slightly expands authority to audit emergency lending conducted under section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, but restricts it to very specific purposes. Meanwhile, 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.”
Jeff Merkley, whose language was used instead of the passed Grayson-Paul version, has this to say:
“I appreciate Representative 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. Moreover, I felt strongly that we need to act now to empower the GAO to audit the extraordinary emergency programs created by the Fed and I succeeded in getting that power into the Senate bill. Rep. Grayson points out, fairly in my mind, that we need to go even further to audit the Fed’s standing programs. I agree. While we need to protect the Fed’s independence to implement monetary policy, I think the structure and use of their standard programs should be transparent.”
There can be no compromise on this issue. Congress and America have spoken. If Dodd believes he can usurp the democratic process in this most critical of issues, which allows the entity in charge of money printing with practically the same liberties as it had when it bailed out in full secrecy every bank in the US and threw countless generations of working-class Americans in a debt-induced coma, it is one thing. If he manages to get away with, it either shows that the degree of apathy demonstrated by US citizens is indicative that nothing can save this country, or that any pretense of democracy in America has been trampled in our accelerating conversion to an autocratic state.
Grayson’s memo which confirms just how useless Dodd’s “Fed audit” provisions are:
Memo to the Senate: Stop Secret Bailouts by the Fed
Sometimes, you just know that you’ve struck a nerve. I knew it early last year, when a clip of my questioning the Inspector General of the Federal Reserve over the Fed’s balance sheet became the most viewed Congressional hearing in YouTube history. The Fed had lent out around $1 trillion, and I wanted to know what happened to the people’s money. So did the people.
They were angry at the Fed, and they showed it. And because of that righteous anger, the financial reform bill in the House contains a provision to audit the Federal Reserve fully. If it passes the Senate, we will finally know to whom the Fed lent our money, how much, and what little we got in return.
So it’s up to the Senate. 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. But the story is simple; if the House version of a Fed audit passes, we will finally know to whom the Fed lent our money. If the Senate version passes, the Fed can continue to make sweetheart loans to whomever it wants, without telling Congress or the public.
The way Congress oversees complicated government agencies is through the Congressional audit arm, the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO does the actual auditing, and gives that information to Congress, which then holds hearings and makes policy. The House bill grants the GAO the authority to audit the Fed, and then releases that information to Congress with a six-month delay, to prevent traders from gaming the system.
The Senate version only allows the GAO to audit a certain part of the Federal Reserve, its emergency lending facilities. The GAO already has some of that authority. Amazingly, the Senate version forces the GAO to withhold this information from the public, and Congress, for as long as the Federal Reserve chooses.
The details, and the specific legislative language, are below.
Limited Audit Authority
What the Senate bill allows:………… continued here