Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who generally graces these pages after saying something bonkers, broke with tradition Tuesday and joined a bipartisan group calling on Congress to demand more transparency from the Federal Reserve.
In a letter to Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.), the signers ask budget bill negotiators to include Senate language that demands more transparency in the final measure.
Bachmann is joined by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), libertarian-minded presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-Texas), antiwar Republican Walter Jones (N.C.), Peter Defazio (D-Oregon) and Corrine Brown (D-Fla.).
The full letter:
Dear Chairman Spratt,
As you meet with fellow conferees to reconcile the House- and Senate-passed budget resolutions, we urge you to adopt the Senate provision regarding the Deficit Neutral Reserve Fund for Increased Transparency at the Federal Reserve in the final version of the resolution. This language calls for the Federal Reserve to identify banks and other financial institutions that have received more than $2.2 trillion in taxpayer-backed loans and other financial assistance since March 24, 2008.
Under Chairman Bernanke, the central banking system has opened a range of extraordinary funding facilities that are providing additional credit to banks, large financial institutions, and primary brokers, as well as guaranteeing commercial paper. All of this activity is happening in secret, with the Federal Reserve disbursing money and credit to the large financial institutions that have put our credit markets and economy at risk. The Federal Reserve has resisted FOIA requests, and will not make public even the terms of payment for the contractors it is using to run these extraordinary programs.
At the very least, Congress and the public should have knowledge about which banks are receiving taxpayer money, what they are doing with the money, and the credit risk taxpayers are taking on through the Federal Reserve. The Senate language encourages such transparency, allowing for audits and public disclosure of secret loans and financial assistance from the Federal Reserve to these large institutions.
We urge you to include the Senate language in the final Budget Resolution.