Friday, September 18, 2009

Will President Obama Let Us See the Fed's Lending Records?

Since the start of the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has created some $2 trillion in assets. Yet, it is not clear as to the specifics of what assets the Fed has bought, or where the Fed has loaned money.

Bloomberg News has filed a Freedom of Information request to learn the specifics. Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska,in a 47-page ruling, found that the facts and the law require the Fed to release the records.

The Fed is now considering whether to appeal her ruling.

The editor in chief of Bloomberg News, Matthew Winkler, in today's WSJ explains why the Fed should not appeal and why the ultimate decision on appeal belongs to the President:
The issue at stake here is understanding the financial crisis and its aftermath. The information Bloomberg is seeking is vital to that, and it belongs to all Americans. Bloomberg isn't alone in saying so. Dow Jones, the New York Times, the Associated Press, Gannett Newspapers, Hearst, Advance Publications, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press have all expressed support for Bloomberg's efforts and may join a friend-of-the-court brief if the decision is appealed.

Any appeal would have to be mounted by Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who reports to President Barack Obama through Attorney General Eric Holder. While the decision is theirs to make, the buck still stops at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

"Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in government," Mr. Obama wrote in a letter to all agency and department heads on his second day as president. "Transparency promotes accountability" because "information maintained by the federal government is a national asset,'' he noted. "My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government.''

This is an opportunity for Mr. Obama to make good on his promise.


  1. No chance in hell that Barry The Banker's Puppet lets it happen.


    Book it.