Ron Paul’s Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009

Posted: 1 March 2009 by Jake Towne in National News, Political Science
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Ron Paul introduces HR 1207 before Congress, a bill to audit the Federal Reserve.

On 26 Feb 09, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced HR 1207, a bill to audit the Federal Reserve. For those who are not aware, the Federal Reserve is America’s quasi-private central bank and is currently not audited in any form or fashion that could be construed as meaningful or effective.

In the short 446-word bill, Representative Paul outlays the plan to enable the Comptroller General of the GAO (Government Accountability Office) to audit the Federal Reserve system before the end of 2010. Per the Federal Reserve [.pdf]: “Monetary policy is exempt from audit by the Government Accountability Office.” (15) This audit should also include an audit of the Federal Reserve’s gold holdings. Paul’s bill was co-signed by 11 colleagues, listed below:

  • Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)
  • Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)
  • Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
  • Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD)
  • Rep. Steve Kagen (D-WI)
  • Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN)
  • Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL)
  • Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-MT)
  • Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA)
  • Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

Dr. Paul – “On Transparency of the Fed” – 23 Feb 09 (3:46):

Transcript c/o LewRockwell.com:

This week the Federal Reserve responded to the American people’s increased concerns over our monetary policy by presenting new initiatives aimed at enhancing the Fed’s transparency and accountability. As someone who has called for more openness from the Fed for over 30 years, I was pleased to see the Fed acknowledge the legitimacy of this need.

The Federal Reserve controls the flow of money and credit in our economy because Congress has abdicated its responsibility over the nation’s currency. This process therefore occurs centrally, and almost completely outside the system of checks and balances. Because of legal tender laws, people are left with no real choice, except to build their lives and futures around this monopoly currency, vulnerable to powerful central bankers. The Founding Fathers intended only gold and silver to be used as currency; however, inch by inch over the decades, this country has backed away from this important restraint. Our money today has no link whatsoever to gold or silver. For many reasons, this is extremely dangerous, and has a lot to do with the boom and bust cycles that have resulted in the crisis in which we find ourselves today.

The Fed is now pledging to reveal to the public more about its economic predictions, and calls this greater transparency. This is little more than window-dressing, at best, utterly useless at worst. Many analysts, especially those familiar with the Austrian school of economics, saw the current economic crisis coming years ago when the Federal Reserve was still telling the American people their policies were as good as gold. So while it might be nice to know what fantasy-infused outlook the Fed has on the economy, I am much more interested in what they are doing as a result of their faulty, haphazard interpretation of data. For instance, what arrangements do they have with other foreign central banks? What the Fed does on that front could very well affect or undermine foreign policy, or even contribute to starting a war.

We also need to know the source and destination of funds provided through the Fed’s emergency funding facilities. Information such as this will provide a more accurate and complete picture of the true cost of these endless bailouts and spending packages, and could very likely affect the decisions being made in Congress. But with so much of the Fed’s business cloaked in secrecy, these latest initiatives will not even scratch the surface of the Fed’s opaque operations. People are demanding answers and explanations for our economic malaise, and we should settle for nothing less than the whole truth on monetary policy.

The first step is to pass legislation I will soon introduce requiring an audit of the Federal Reserve so we can at least get an accurate picture of what is happening with our money. If this audit reveals what I suspect, and Congress has finally had enough, they can also pass my legislation to abolish the Federal Reserve and put control of the economy’s lifeblood, the currency, back where it Constitutionally belongs. If Congress refuses to do these two things, the very least they could do is repeal legal tender laws and allow people to choose a different currency in which to operate. If the Fed refuses to open its books to an audit, and Congress refuses to demand this, the people should not be subject to the whims of this secretive and incompetent organization.

Dr. Paul on the House floor, “Federal Reserve is the Culprit!” – 25 Feb 09 (4:29):

Dr. Paul gave the following speech on the House floor introducing HR 1207:

Madame Speaker,

I rise to introduce the Federal Reserve Transparency Act. Throughout its nearly 100-year history, the Federal Reserve has presided over the near-complete destruction of the United States dollar. Since 1913 the dollar has lost over 95% of its purchasing power, aided and abetted by the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy. How long will we as a Congress stand idly by while hard-working Americans see their savings eaten away by inflation? Only big-spending politicians and politically favored bankers benefit from inflation.

Serious discussion of proposals to oversee the Federal Reserve is long overdue. I have been a longtime proponent of more effective oversight and auditing of the Fed, but I was far from the first Congressman to advocate these types of proposals. Esteemed former members of the Banking Committee such as Chairmen Wright Patman and Henry B. Gonzales were outspoken critics of the Fed and its lack of transparency.

Since its inception, the Federal Reserve has always operated in the shadows, without sufficient scrutiny or oversight of its operations. While the conventional excuse is that this is intended to reduce the Fed’s susceptibility to political pressures, the reality is that the Fed acts as a foil for the government. Whenever you question the Fed about the strength of the dollar, they will refer you to the Treasury, and vice versa. The Federal Reserve has, on the one hand, many of the privileges of government agencies, while retaining benefits of private organizations, such as being insulated from Freedom of Information Act requests.

The Federal Reserve can enter into agreements with foreign central banks and foreign governments, and the GAO is prohibited from auditing or even seeing these agreements. Why should a government-established agency, whose police force has federal law enforcement powers, and whose notes have legal tender status in this country, be allowed to enter into agreements with foreign powers and foreign banking institutions with no oversight? Particularly when hundreds of billions of dollars of currency swaps have been announced and implemented, the Fed’s negotiations with the European Central Bank, the Bank of International Settlements, and other institutions should face increased scrutiny, most especially because of their significant effect on foreign policy. If the State Department were able to do this, it would be characterized as a rogue agency and brought to heel, and if a private individual did this he might face prosecution under the Logan Act, yet the Fed avoids both fates.

More importantly, the Fed’s funding facilities and its agreements with the Treasury should be reviewed. The Treasury’s supplementary financing accounts that fund Fed facilities allow the Treasury to funnel money to Wall Street without GAO or Congressional oversight. Additional funding facilities, such as the Primary Dealer Credit Facility and the Term Securities Lending Facility, allow the Fed to keep financial asset prices artificially inflated and subsidize poorly performing financial firms.

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act would eliminate restrictions on GAO audits of the Federal Reserve and open Fed operations to enhanced scrutiny. We hear officials constantly lauding the benefits of transparency and especially bemoaning the opacity of the Fed, its monetary policy, and its funding facilities. By opening all Fed operations to a GAO audit and calling for such an audit to be completed by the end of 2010, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act would achieve much-needed transparency of the Federal Reserve. I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

Those wishing to contact their Representatives in Congress may do so. My recommended method is to join DownsizeDC.org and fill out a response letter from this letter campaign on unfunded liabilities which takes only a moment after a short sign-up process. Depending on your principles, using the “End the Inflation Tax” in support of honest money or “End the FED” may also be appropriate.

The time to be silent has long since passed. To paraphrase Edmund Burke: all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.

Jake is also a contributor to Nolan Chart.

Comments
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