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U.S. Representatives Mark Green, Tulsi Gabbard Introduce the Federal Reserve Sunshine Act

 

U.S. House of RepresentativesWashington, D.C. – This week, U.S. Representative Mark Green (R-TN) introduced the bipartisan Federal Reserve Sunshine Act (H.R. 8007) with Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) to reinstate longstanding transparency provisions for the Federal Reserve.

Representative Mark Green said, “The CARES Act allows the Chairman of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors to conduct any board meeting without complying with the Government in the Sunshine Act, as long as it’s determined in writing that ‘unusual and exigent circumstances’ exist.”

U.S. Representative Mark Green

U.S. Representative Mark Green

“This means that the Fed does not have to announce its meetings, and it absolves the board of the requirement to keep minutes of its meetings or most records about them. This unacceptable provision limits the information available to the public and makes the Federal Reserve even less accountable to Congress and the American people,” Representative Green stated.

“Our bill removes this provision from the statute, so that the Federal Reserve remains accountable while doling out the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent during this unprecedented time,” said Representative Green.

“Responding to this global pandemic requires a massive commitment of resources to provide assistance to the American people during this crisis. Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors is able to avoid complying with existing transparency laws as they oversee $450 billion in taxpayer funds provided by the CARES Act in loans and other financial assistance,” Representative Tulsi stated.

“Currently, they are able to avoid transparency by not announcing its meetings or failing to keep records during these meetings. As billions of taxpayer dollars are being committed during this emergency, transparency is vital to ensure the American people are protected from abuse and misuse of funds. This virus and crisis shouldn’t kill accountability,” said Representative Tulsi Gabbard. “This is a common sense bill that makes sure the Federal Reserve operates openly as it engages businesses and communities across the country in this time of great need.”

The bill has received endorsements from government transparency advocates including the Project on Government Oversight, FreedomWorks, Demand Progress, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

“The Federal Reserve Sunshine Act will help restore crucial transparency at the Federal Reserve,” said Tim Stretton, Policy Analyst with the Project On Government Oversight. “For decades now, it has been apparent that the Federal Reserve operates with too much opacity and secrecy. Furthermore, the recently passed CARES Act exempted the Federal Reserve from some of the law’s broad public transparency measures, giving the Fed the option to blindfold the electorate and the media.  Given the Fed has so much money under their authority right now, they should be working to be more transparent, not less transparent. Representatives Green and Gabbard should be commended for leading the way to restore transparency to this infamously accountability-resistant body.”

 


 

“The expansion of the Federal Reserve’s powers to distort economic activity, granted without much thought or scrutiny as part of the CARES Act, is even more alarming for the total lack of transparency that accompanied it,” said Jason Pye, Vice President of Legislative Affairs for FreedomWorks.

“As the saying goes, sunlight is the best disinfectant. The Federal Reserve should never be allowed to hold closed-door meetings, and we thank Representative Green and Representative Gabbard for their leadership to right this wrong,” Pye stated.

Read the full bill here.


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