So Much For Transparency

July 7th, 2009at 11:24am Posted by Eli

How sad is it when Republicans are the ones pushing for transparency in the financial realm, and Democrats are the ones blocking them?

The U.S. Federal Reserve, facing growing pressure as it tries to heal the ailing economy, dodged a bullet on Monday when the U.S. Senate cast aside a new effort to increase scrutiny of the central bank.

On procedural grounds, the Senate blocked a bid to permit the U.S. comptroller general, who heads the investigative arm of Congress known as the Government Accountability Office, to audit the Federal Reserve system and issue a report.

Republican Senator Jim DeMint, who has been pushing for greater transparency at the Fed, failed to get the provision attached to the must-pass annual spending bill that includes funding for the GAO for the upcoming 2010 fiscal year.

The audit would have included details about the Fed’s discount window operations, funding facilities, open market operations and agreements with foreign central banks and governments, DeMint said on the Senate floor.

“The Federal Reserve will create and disburse trillions of dollars in response to our current financial crisis,” DeMint said. “Americans across the nation, regardless of their opinion on the bailout, want to know where the money has gone.

“Allowing the Fed to operate our nation’s monetary system in almost complete secrecy leads to abuse, inflation and a lower quality of life,” he said.

Democrats who control the Senate blocked the South Carolina Republican’s amendment on the grounds that it violated rules prohibiting legislation attached to spending bills.

The Republicans were probably acting out of pure partisan spite rather than any kind of desire for sunlight, but it appears that the Democrats opposed them for much the same reason.  This is the kind of provision they should be wholeheartedly supporting, or better yet introducing.

It would help if the story included some Democratic response, so we could know if there’s more to it, like if DeMint included some kind of poison pill that made it unacceptable.  But taken at face value, the optics here are absolutely terrible, cementing the Democrats’ brand as the pro-bankster party.

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Obama,Politics,Wankers

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