Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fewer secrets of the temple 

Last weekend on Final Word, I interviewed Vern McKinley, who has a Freedom of Information Act suit filed against the FDIC and the Federal Reserve for minutes of meetings in which decisions were taken on invoking emergency powers that permitted the Fed and FDIC to provide bailout funds to various financial institutions. Vern has posted his documents here, and Judicial Watch is now joined in the case as counsel for Vern.

Vern should therefore be encouraged by last night's ruling that the news agency Bloomberg will be given access to a list showing who received emergency loans from the Fed. The documents requested were to determine not only who got loans under the Fed's Primary Dealer Credit Facility but what kinds of collateral were pledged against the loans. The same was requested for three other facilities: the traditional Fed discount window, the Term Auction Facility and the Term Security Lending Facility. Just as in Vern's case, the Federal Reserve said FOIA has exceptions that permit them to deny Bloomberg's request. Separately, Bloomberg sought data on the Bear Stearns bailout, and the collateral pledged in that request to the Fed. Again, nothing. The court has ruled that the exceptions to FOIA that the Fed wished to use are not applicable to the information Bloomberg sought.

Vern rights that this ruling is "good news" for his case. Investigation of what happened in 2008 is vital; one hopes that the information will be useful in the upcoming reappointment hearings for Fed Chair Bernanke.

Labels: , ,