It’s old news now: yesterday, President-elect Barack Obama announced he was picking Timothy Geithner, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as his Treasury Secretary.
Geithner’s New York Fed, according to Bloomberg.com, has been “accepting [securities from banks] on behalf of American taxpayers as collateral for $1.5 trillion of loans. (Bear in mind that link is several weeks old, and, due to rounding and additional bailouts, may be off by a trillion dollars or two).
Bloomberg filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act for documents related to that $1.5 trillion worth of loans, and are now suing to get those documents. They were denied because,
Fed staff planned to recommend that Bloomberg’s request be denied under an exemption protecting “confidential commercial information,” according to Alison Thro, the Fed’s FOIA Service Center senior counsel. The Fed in Washington has about 30 pages pertaining to the request, Thro said today before the filing of the suit. The bulk of the documents Bloomberg sought are at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which she said isn’t subject to the freedom of information law.
The Federal Reserve is pumping ever greater amounts of cash into financial institutions with no transparency. Amidst talk of sacrifices ahead and cuts to come in the federal budget, shouldn’t we know what we’re sacrificing for?