Boehner Demands Fed Identify Recipients of Loans (Update1)

By Laura Litvan
Bloomberg News
November 12, 2008


Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) -- House Republican leader John Boehner called for the Federal Reserve to disclose the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers and the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

Boehner, in a prepared statement, also asked the Federal Reserve to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request requesting details about the loans.

The Fed "should comply with this Freedom of Information Act request, and in the interest of full and fair disclosure, they must begin providing lawmakers and taxpayers all information about how they are using federal tax dollars,'' Boehner said.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn't require approval by Congress, there is little disclosure about how the programs are being implemented.

Bloomberg News has requested details of the Fed lending under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and filed a federal lawsuit Nov. 7 seeking to force disclosure.

A spokesman for the Federal Reserve didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Boehner said he is increasingly concerned that the government's actions to add stability to financial markets is moving into areas that were not the stated intention when Congress approved $700 billion for a Treasury-administered program to bail out the financial sector that is being weighed down by the housing crisis.

"During the bipartisan negotiations between Congress and the administration, members of both parties made clear that Congress must have meaningful oversight over the use of taxpayer dollars,'' Boehner said. "Transparency is even more important now, given that the program appears to have been implemented in some ways that were given little to no discussion as Congress was being urged to pass the rescue plan.''

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