Congressmen to Senate: Don't Confirm Bernanke Until We Audit the FedOctober 8, 2009 - by Donny Shaw
Congressmen Ron Paul [R, TX-14] and Rep. Alan Grayson [D, FL-8] – the right-left populist duo that has teamed up to push for more transparency at the Federal Reserve – are asking the Senate to postpone their confirmation of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke (pictured at right) until he releases more information about what the Fed has been up to in the wake of the financial crisis.
“Without [a fuller understanding of the commitments the Federal Reserve has made on our behalf], it is impossible to know whether Chairman Bernanke is fit to serve another term and fulfill the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate to ensure price stability and full employment,” they wrote in a letter delivered yesterday to the members of the Senate Banking Committee. You can read the full letter here.
The two congressman have amassed 301 bipartisan co-sponsors, including every single House Republican, for their bill (H.R. 1207)to require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a complete audit of the Fed. Support for Fed transparency has been a little weaker in the Senate where lawmakers are generally less influenced by public sentiment. A similar bill in the Senate (S. 604) has gained 30 co-sponsors, including just 9 members of the Democrats who hold the majority.
Bernanke’s confirmation hearing, which is scheduled for November 15, is strictly an issue for the Senate. The House will have no say in Bernanke’s confirmation, and it’s unclear if Paul and Grayson’s letter will have any influence there. Still, it foretells some of the tough questions Bernanke is going to have to field about the Fed’s secrecy.
Below is Allan Grayson trying to get some answers about what the Fed has done with the trillions of dollars it has lent out since the market collapse in 2008: