This is not a partisan issue for me, it is an American issue that is perhaps the most important piece of legislation floating around in the Senate and House at this time.
Senator Bernie Sanders introduced this bill and as stated:
S 604 Federal Reserve Sunshine Act of 2009
A bill to amend title 31, United States Code, to reform the manner in which the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is audited by the Comptroller General of the United States and the manner in which such audits are reported, and for other purposes.
It was originally introduced on 3/16/2009--and reads in total:
Federal Reserve Sunshine Act of 2009 - Repeals the authority of the Comptroller General to carry out an onsite examination of an open insured bank or bank holding company only if the appropriate federal regulatory agency has consented in writing. (Retains the authority of the Comptroller General to audit a federal agency.) Directs the Comptroller General to complete, before the end of 2010, an audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and of the federal reserve banks, followed by a detailed report to Congress.
On July 7, 2009 this particular bill was blocked 'illegally' by Senator Ben Nelson and the acting President of the Senate.
At the time this happened Senator DeMint was acting to include S604 onto a series of other GOA bills that included auditing ramifications in their bills.
Senator DeMint, who has a well-deserved reputation for taking the battle to the other side in the Senate, once again proved why he is such a valuable ally in our fight to bring transparency and accountability to the Federal Reserve.
A little while ago, the Senate voted to pass HR 2918, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act. This $3 billion bill contains, among many other things, provisions for GAO audits on certain agencies.
Seizing on a chance to take quick action to bring Audit the Fed up for a vote, and with the GAO provisions in mind, Senator DeMint attached the full text of S 604, to HR 2918 as Senate Amendment 1367 before it was considered for final passage.
However, Senate Democrats refused to even allow a vote on the amendment.
After Senator DeMint brought Audit the Fed to the floor, Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska raised a "point of order" to prevent a vote, claiming that the amendment violated Senate Rule 16 by "legislating" on an appropriations bill. The Senate president agreed, and the amendment was shot down.
Senator DeMint did not back down, though, and directly challenged Senate leadership by pointing out the other GAO audits contained in the bill. As Senator DeMint listed them off, the Senate president was forced to agree with Senator DeMint that each one he described, all of which would be left in for final passage, also violated Senate Rule 16.
Which tells us at least one thing: the problem wasn’t with "legislating" on the bill or violating Senate Rules (which is commonly done). Shooting down the amendment was about preventing a thorough audit of the Federal Reserve for the first time in its history!
If you wish to watch how the bill that Bernie Sanders has introduced into the Senate was illegally shot down please take a look at the video. It is so blatant to anyone that there was a double standard in play here and there was no reason for S604 not to have included with the rest of the GAO appropriation auditing bills that were introduced.
There have been lengthy dairies and discussion recently about the outrage of what is going on between Goldman Sachs, Timothy Geithner (Treasurer) and the Federal Reserve, and indeed it is being called a 'Dictatorship' by many economists. The conflict of interest is staggering and blatant. With the recent questions regarding just how Goldman Sachs has been manipulating the markets I would remind those of you in the know exactly how Goldman Sach has been able to make the record breaking profits over the past few months:
UPDATE: Several commenters add a crucial point: back in September, the Federal Reserve allowed Goldman (and a few other surviving institutions) to convert from an investment bank into a bank holding company. The Wall St. Journal claimed at the time that the move meant the firm would "come under the close supervision of national bank regulators, subjecting them to new capital requirements, additional oversight, and far less profitability than they have historically enjoyed." A mere nine months later, Goldman boasts of "blowout profits." So much for "less profitability." As for allegedly greater regulations and capital restrictions, they freely admitted from the start: "'We don't believe we'll have to get out of any businesses,' says Lucas van Praag, a Goldman spokesman. Adds Morgan Stanley's Mark Lake, 'There will not be much in terms of divestitures'."
But what the conversion did allow was access to lending from the Federal Reserve. Since then, the Fed has increased its balance sheet by $2 trillion while steadfastly refusing to disclose the beneficiaries of that credit. Thus, even aside from the bailout money it directly received and the billions in bailout money which it indirectly received (through AIG), Goldman has had access to massive amounts of Fed lending in order to fuel its bulging profits. That unimaginably enormous (though entirely secret) lending is, in part, what is behind the Ron Paul-sponsored bill to audit the Fed -- a bill that is now co-sponsored by a majority of House members from across the political spectrum (progressive, conservative and everything in between), yet which continues to be blocked by Congressional leaders from receiving a floor vote.
My question is why would our own party, the Democrats in the Senate block a bill such as S604 to Audit the Federal Reserve? It would of course seem in our best interests as a nation to be able to find out exactly where our tax dollars have gone and exactly how much has been spent, loaned out, to whom and of course, what we have left, and what we owe.
Ben Bernanke has continually refused to answer the questions that have been asked of him during the past year regarding the estimated 12.5 trillion dollars that 'have gone missing.' As it stands, neither can Congress seem to get a straight answer out of Treasurer Geithner on the TARP funds:
Congress is getting tired of asking nicely. Twenty House and Senate Democrats sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in May asking if he intended to implement the recommendations of bailout auditors. They never heard back.
If there's one thing that gets under the congressional skin, it's being ignored. So they're responding with an attempt to make it a legal requirement for Geithner to either accept the reform and oversight recommendations or explain to Congress why he won't.
The move represents an escalation in the tussle over the bailout between the White House and Democrats in Congress, and it's likely to pass.
Later this week, the full House will vote on whether to give Geithner a deadline written into the law to respond to its request. The mandate passed the Appropriations Committee last week. The first legally required report would be due Sept. 1, 2009, with quarterly reports to follow.
Geithner is required to respond to auditors' recommendations under current law, but there is no deadline to do so. Geithner neither replied to the May letter, nor has he responded to the recommendations of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) or the Special Inspector General for the Temporary Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP).
Neither the United States Treasurer nor the President of the United States has the legal right to keep from the Congress which represents the people of our nation an accounting of the taxpayers money. It is illegal.
The companion bill in the house to audit the Federal Reserve is RS 1207. This bill was introduced by Congressman Ron Paul.
Today over 55 percent of the house have signed on as sponsors or co-sponsors of the bill.
Once again, I do not view these two bills as a partisan matter, and I would appreciate it if we could stick to the 'issue at hand' and possibly refrain from taking this diary into the kind of flame throwing 'Ron Paul Person' bullshit that sometimes goes on here.
I volunteered for President Obama and worked 30 hours a week for him for 6 months prior to his election, and I still support President Obama.
However, what I do see happening in our nation between the Federal Reserve, the Treasurer and Goldman Sachs is utter chaos and corruption hiding under a cloud of secrecy that should not be allowed to stand any longer. Most people do not realize that we as a nation pay the Federal Reserve over 800 billion dollars in interest every year. Don't you think we deserve some answers for that little piece of the pie they are getting?
The outrage that we all feel towards Wall Street and Goldman Sachs is just the tip of the iceberg. The real question is who is 'feeding' the beast? The real question is the underlying systemic breakdown of our debt ridden financial system that no longer works and is riddled with special interests and ruthless secretive players who are now standing in the halls of the Senate, like Senator Ben Nelson who purposely blocked S604 that would shine the sunlight on the Federal Reserve and give a through and transparent house cleaning that is long overdue.
At one time in our history the Federal Reserve was charged with maintaining an independent stature so that it would not become the highly compromised organization that it is today. Today the Federal Reserve works solely for the benefit of the Wall Street Banksta Ganstas, and undermines the public interest.
"Long-time followers of our work will know that our research suggests that today's grave monetary and economic problems are largely attributable to actions taken since the founding of the Federal Reserve System. We also have declared many times that leading private bankers have used their great influence with central bankers and politicians to obtain adoption of monetary policies and banking laws that were in the bankers' immediate interest but against the long-run public interest and that of the bankers, too." - American Institute for Economic Research
Why did Senator Nelson and the Senate President illegally block this bill in the hearing? What are they so afraid of that we will all learn? What are they hiding behind our backs that is so terrible that we, the very people who are paying their salaries cannot see? I urge each of you to support Senator Sanders in his S604 bill and also HR 1207 to audit the Federal Reserve and to call your representatives to support those bills in the Senate and House, respectively.
It is our country, it is our government, it is our MONEY.
UPDATE: Thanks so much for recommending this diary. Although this is a controversial issue, it is also one that needs as much debate and discussion as possible. Our financial system is broken, and there is a huge power grab going on within our regulatory commissions. The Obama Administration is pushing for the Federal Reserve to gain even more power as the single-super-regulatory power. This would be a huge mistake in my humble opinion. What is needed is the courage that FDR shown to tear down that wall that is protecting Wall Street/The Federal Reserve to implement new strict regulations with conflict of interests addressed to protect Americans from losing their homes and retirement accounts, such as happened this past few years. We cannot keep going the same old ways.