“As unusual a coalition as can be crafted in the Senate plans to fight for an amendment to the Wall Street reform bill that would open the Federal Reserve to a serious audit by the Government Accountability Office. Sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the language is modeled after an amendment that passed the House, sponsored by Reps. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Sanders is joined by four Republicans of varying politics: John McCain (Ariz.), Jim DeMint (S.C.), David Vitter (La.) and Sam Brownback (Kan.). If Democrats in the Senate back the measure, it would have at least 63 votes…The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), is also a cosponsor, as is Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.).”
A letter by Sen. Sanders reads, in part:
“The American people have a right to know who received over $2 Trillion in financial assistance from the Federal Reserve.
Since the beginning of the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has provided over $2 trillion in taxpayer-backed loans and other financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the world. Unfortunately, the Fed is still refusing to tell the American people or the Congress who received most of this assistance, how much they received or what they are doing with this money. This money does not belong to the Federal Reserve, it belongs to the American people, and the American people have a right to know where their taxpayer dollars are going.
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.
For nearly nine decades, the GAO has a proven track record of conducting objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, non-ideological, fair, and balanced audits. Through these audits, the GAO helped save the American taxpayers $50 billion last year alone by rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government.
Let’s not equate independence with secrecy. We cannot let the Fed operate in secrecy any longer. There is simply too much money at stake.”