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Beware The Bringer Of Gifts

Transparency in government was one of the cornerstones of President Obama's campaign in 2008. He was going to make the legislative process open, and post legislation online for citizen review before he signs or vetoes anything. Does this also include the Federal Reserve? Our government loaned a great deal of money in the form of bailouts to a wide range of financial institutions - domestic and foreign. Which institutions received money and how much? We don't know because the Federal Reserve and the federal government will not tell us. Enter Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)...

Rep. Ron Paul (and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Senate) has introduced legislation that would open the books of the Federal Reserve for audit, thus making those findings public. Currently, Rep. Paul's bill has about half of the House of Representatives' support. However, opening the books of the Federal Reserve puts the Obama and Bush's administrations in a bit of a fix.

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First, Bush forced the banks to take money giving the the Obama administration the green light to do what they're doing, so whether Bush likes it or not, he shares some of the blame.

Second, when the books are opened, I'm sure there will be an uproar over who received money and how much, ie. US tax dollars bailing out foreign owned banks.

Third and testing my ability to see the future, the media (except NBC, MSNBC, or NY Times) will investigate the political connections of the institutions that received bailout money. What happens if they find that some of those institutions happened to be big donors to certain political parties/candidates/members of Congress? What if they happen to find close personal relationships- friends and family - between bailed out institutions and government officials?

Fourth, if this Fed. Reserve transparency act we're to somehow pass later this year or early next year, what kind of political fallout will ensue?

Enter Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA). Say what you will about Rep. Frank, but he is a smart and shrewd politician. He is safe in his re-election so he can operate freely without too much regard to the repercussions. Frank also knows that in 2010 the Democrats are going to lose seats in the House (and hopefully the Senate too). Some analysts think the loss in the House will be 15-20 seats and a few even say that the House may go back to a Republican majority. Rep. Frank is in a unique position to prevent the latter.

Rep. Frank is the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee where Rep. Paul is also a member. Plus, Rep. Paul's bill H.R. 1207 has been referred to the committee that Reps. Frank and Paul sit on. As Chairman, this enables Rep. Frank to delay action on the bill for as long as he seems fit as long as he has the party votes to do so. As a result, Rep. Frank also has influence over the wording and intent of the legislation in front of his committee. Which brings us to a news story that Rep. Frank is looking at compromise language which would delay release the results of the audit for "several" months so that it doesn't cause a hardship on the banking industry.

This accomplishes a couple of things. First, Fed. Chief Bernanke and others at the Federal Reserve would have time to prevent what they feel might cause a run on the banks that we're bailed out. This is an important point considering the Federal Reserve just lost their court case in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Michael Bloomberg/Bloomberg News. Personally, I believe it has more to do with the third point I made earlier. Second, and more important to Rep. Frank, President Obama, and Nancy Pelosi, by delaying the vote on the bill in committee and by the time the bill passes the House, goes through the Senate, and is presumably signed by President Obama, the "delayed results" would come out after the 2010 elections thereby saving the Democratic majority. Third and finally, Rep. Frank comes out looking like the good guy fighting the evil tax money wasting Federal Reserve despite presiding over the very committee that helped allow all of this banking and housing mess to happen in the first place.

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Posted in Law Post Date 08/21/2017


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