WASHINGTON --- Senator Chuck Grassley is working to make greater transparency at the Federal Reserve part of the financial regulation bill under consideration this week in the U.S. Senate.
"During the last two and a-half years, the Fed has gone well beyond what was viewed as its historical authority, and it's happened without any transparency and resulted in very little accountability," Grassley said. "The Fed's extraordinary power outside of monetary policy should be subject to the light of day. Trillions of tax dollars have been provided to financial institutions and corporations, and the public has a right to know who has taken the money and how it's been spent."
With Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Grassley has filed an amendment to the banking bill that would require the Federal Reserve to release information about its emergency lending program. The Federal Reserve is appealing a March ruling by a federal court that required this action.
Grassley has cosponsored a separate amendment with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont to allow the investigative arm of Congress - the Government Accountability Office, or GAO - to audit the Federal Reserve. It's based on legislation introduced last year and would require that a GAO audit be delivered to Congress within the year.
A year ago, Grassley won passage of an amendment he offered to the housing bill that gave the GAO the authority, for the first time, to access information from the Federal Reserve about its stabilization efforts with certain entities. Grassley said the pending amendment to the banking bill allows independent investigators to review all of the Fed's actions where tax dollars were given to failing private-sector entities.