I just returned from a book signing event for "Deception and Abuse at the Fed: Henry B. Gonzalez Battles Alan Greenspan's Bank" and had the opportunity to hear the author, Robert D. Auerbach, speak about the ridiculous lack of oversight at the Federal Reserve. He spoke about the efforts of the late, great Henry B. Gonzalez, then Chairman of the House Banking Committee, to bring the activities of the Fed into greater transparency and accountability. The event was sponsored by the Henry B. Gonzalez Foundation and was attended by Henry B. Gonzalez's son, Charlie Gonzalez, who is currently US Congressman from TX-20.
I had a chance to hear the author, Robert Auerbach, recently on NPR's "Texas Matters" program. He detailed the fact that the investigators charged with the oversight of the banks would routinely carry their resumes with them to the very banks they were supposed to be overseeing. He also talked about how Congressman Gonzalez pressed Chairman Greenspan for transcripts of the Fed's meetings. Greenspan falsely claimed that there were no minutes being kept from the meetings. Auerbach also described the private fleet of planes used by the Fed to transport paper checks (which ceased after 9-11) and how the banks were profiting from check floating using this fleet.
Auerbach's talk had so many lessons that are relevant to our current economic situation with the Housing/Lending crisis. His message that lack of oversight inevitably leads to conflicts of interest and corruption is timeless, but the story of Henry B. Gonzalez's role in challenging the Fed has been largely overlooked. Thankfully Robert Auerbach was there and lives on to tell the story in his book. Please check it out if you get a chance.