Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Victory Against the Federal Reserve

Kudos to the federal appeals court that just ruled that the Federal Reserve has no right to hide the sordid special handouts it provided to well-connected financial firms. Here's an excerpt from a report about the decision:

The Federal Reserve must reveal documents identifying financial companies that received Fed loans to survive the financial crisis, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. A panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said in two separate opinions that such information isn't automatically exempt from requests under the Freedom of Information Act. News Corp.'s Fox News Network LLC and Bloomberg L.P. sued separately for details about loans that commercial banks and Wall Street firms received and the collateral they put up. Other news agencies, including The Associated Press, filed briefs with the appellate court in their support. The Fed argued that if it identified banks that drew emergency loans, it could cause a run on those institutions, undermine the loan programs and potentially hurt the economy, and lower-court judges were split on the issue. The Federal Reserve said it's studying Friday's ruling.
On a broader note, I'm periodically asked about monetary policy, the Fed, and the financial crisis. I do my best to stay away from the first two topics, largely because my interests are elsewhere (though I did handle the Federal Reserve for the Bush/Quayle transition team, many years in the past). But that does not mean the issues are unimportant. For those that are interested, I recommend two articles, one by George Selgin and the other by Gerald O'Driscoll.

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