ALG Calls Upon 26 House Republicans to Cosponsor Fed Audit Bill  

June 9th, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today called upon 26 House Republicans to cosponsor legislation that would require an audit of the Federal Reserve “to account for more than $7.76 trillion committed by the Fed in just the past two years.”

“So far, 151 House Republicans are cosponsoring this critical legislation,” Wilson said. “But unless the entire 178 member Conference is on board, including leadership, this legislation will not have a realistic chance at passage.”

The 26 House Republicans who have not yet signed on to the legislation are:
John Boehner (OH-8)

Dave Camp (MI-4)

A. Joseph Cao (LA-2)

Mike Coffman (CO-6)

Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25)

Jo Ann Emerson (MO-8)

Elton Gallegly (CA-24)

Steve King (IA-5)

Chris Lee (NY-26)

Howard Buck McKeon (CA-25)

Devin Nunes (CA-21)

Christopher Smith (NJ-4)

John Sullivan (OK-1)
Jo Bonner (AL-1)

Eric Cantor (VA-7)

Howard Coble (NC-6)

Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21)

David Dreier (CA-26)

Darrell Issa (CA-49)

Mark Kirk (IL-10)

Jerry Lewis (CA-41)

Gary Miller (CA-42)

Harold Hal Rogers (KY-5)

Jean Schmidt (OH-2)

Mark Souder (IN-3)

Frank Wolf (VA-10)

Wilson commented that the bill, HR 1207—sponsored by Congressman Ron Paul (TX-14)—would “provide a full accounting of the Fed’s irresponsible activities of moving trillions of dollars to foreign governments and banks, crashing markets, and wrecking the economy.”

“The Federal Reserve has committed taxpayers to bailouts totaling $7.76 trillion in less than two years,” said Wilson. “No member of Congress, including House Republicans, knows where the entirety of this $7.76 trillion will go, because the Fed is mostly exempt from being audited and attempts at oversight have been met with consistent stonewalling.”

“This bill needs to get passed before all of the $7.76 trillion is pushed out the nation’s back door,” Wilson warned.

According to Bloomberg News, the Federal Reserve has committed over $7.76 trillion in the past 22 months, $1,67 trillion of which has already been disbursed. However, it is unclear who received these loans, or who will receive the remainder of the committed funds.

Wilson added, “Nobody has publicly accounted for where nearly $2 trillion of loans made by the Fed is going—because the Fed refuses to disclose that information and because law exempts most of the institution from being audited by the GAO.”

Wilson cited that the Government Accounting Office, according to 31 USCA §714, cannot audit and exempts from public oversight of the Federal Reserve the following activities:

(1) transactions for or with a foreign central bank, government of a foreign country, or nonprivate international financing organization;
(2) deliberations, decisions, or actions on monetary policy matters, including discount window operations, reserves of member banks, securities credit, interest on deposits, open market operations;
(3) transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee; or
(4) a part of a discussion or communication among or between members of the Board of Governors and officers and employees of the Federal Reserve System related to items.

On February 26th “Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009” was introduced. H.R. 1207 would require the Comptroller General to issue an audit of both the Board of Governors and Reserve Bank operations, which are run by member banks of the Fed. The audit would have to be issued to Congressional leadership by the close of 2010.

According to Bloomberg, “The Federal Reserve so far is refusing to disclose loan recipients or reveal the collateral they are taking in return.” The Fed has argued it is actually allowed to withhold “internal” memos as well as commercial and trade secrets information. Bloomberg, on the other hand, has actively filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, demanding the information.

Thus far, the Fed’s Board of Governors has refused to comply with Bloomberg’s FOIA requests. In addition, the Fed’s regional Reserve Banks are arguing that they are private institutions beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act.

In answering questions from Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) recently, Fed Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman testified she could not account for “$1 trillion-plus that the Fed extended and put on its balance sheet since last September…”

An email to Bloomberg by Coleman’s office also revealed that “By law, we are the Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors only… Consistent with our authority, we cannot conduct a direct audit of Reserve Bank operations.”

So far, the Act has 190 cosponsors, including 39 Democrats and 151 Republicans.

“It is up to the constitutional duty of every member of Congress to account for these trillions of dollars that taxpayers are increasingly being put on the hook for in a hasty gamble that may yet consume the nation in bankruptcy without any true oversight having ever been conducted,” Wilson concluded.

Interview Availability: Please contact Alex Rosenwald at (703)383-0880 or at arosenwald@getliberty.org to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.

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