Watching the Fed and its Friends Squirm

What is interesting is that the Fed has not yet filed an appeal to another court on Judge Preska’s Aug 24th Ruling that the Federal Reserve must disclose who it gave $2Trillion to last fall.  As you all know Bloomberg News Service sued the Fed on November 7, 2008 for this information which the Fed has continued to refuse.

Instead the Fed has appealed to Judge Preska herself to ‘please change her mind’ making the same arguments that Judge Preska already rejected in her 47 page ruling ( you can read the entire ruling here ).

Also the Fed has asked its friends in the Banking World over at the Clearing House Association LLC to file an appeal to Judge Preska also to change her mind. Note that these friends of the Fed are ABN Amro Holding NV, Bank of America Corp., Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase Inc., UBS AG, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo & Co.

I would humbly guess that one or more of those friends have a direct vested interest in not revealing to the Public who received the $2 Trillion dollars.

Michael McKay

 

Federal Reserve Says Disclosing Emergency Loans Will Hurt Banks

By Mark Pittman

Aug. 27 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve argued yesterday that identifying the financial institutions that benefited from its emergency loans would harm the companies and render the central bank’s planned appeal of a court ruling moot.

The Fed’s board of governors asked Manhattan Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska to delay enforcement of her Aug. 24 decision that the identities of borrowers in 11 lending programs must be made public by Aug. 31. The central bank wants Preska to stay her order until the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York can hear the case.

“The immediate release of these documents will destroy the board’s claims of exemption and right of appellate review,” the motion said. “The institutions whose names and information would be disclosed will also suffer irreparable harm.”

The Fed’s “ability to effectively manage the current, and any future, financial crisis” would be impaired, according to the motion. It said “significant harms” could befall the U.S. economy as well.

The central bank didn’t say when it would file its appeal.

The Fed has refused to name the financial firms it lent to or disclose the amounts or the assets put up as collateral under the emergency programs, saying disclosure might set off a run by depositors and unsettle shareholders.

Bloomberg LP, the New York-based company majority-owned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, sued on Nov. 7 under the Freedom of Information Act on behalf of its Bloomberg News unit.

Public Interest

“Our argument is that the public interest in disclosure outweighs the banks’ interest in secrecy,” said Thomas Golden, a lawyer with New York-based Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP who represents Bloomberg.

Preska’s Aug. 24 ruling rejected the Fed’s argument that the records should remain private because they are trade secrets and would scare customers into pulling their deposits.

“What has the Fed got to hide?” said Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who sponsored a bill to require the Fed to submit to an audit by the Government Accountability Office. “The time has come for the Fed to stop stonewalling and hand this information over to the public,” he said in an e-mail.

The Clearing House Association LLC, an industry-owned group in New York that processes payments between banks, filed a declaration that accompanied the request for a stay.

Negative Consequences

“Experience in the banking industry has shown that when customers and market participants hear negative rumors about a bank, negative consequences inevitably flow,” Norman Nelson, vice president and general counsel for the group, said in the document. “Our members have accessed the discount window with the understanding that the Fed will not disclose information about their borrowing, especially their identity.”

Members of the Clearing House are ABN Amro Holding NV, Bank of America Corp., Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Citigroup Inc.Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase Inc., UBS AG, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo & Co.

The case is Bloomberg LP v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 08-CV-9595, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Pittman in New York at mpittman@bloomberg.net

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