WASHINGTON, March 3 – Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today introduced legislation to demand disclosure of the financial institutions that have received more than $2.2 trillion in taxpayer-backed loans and other financial assistance from the Federal Reserve.
Sanders introduced the bill after the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, in testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, refused to identify the banks.
At the hearing, Bernanke told Sanders that “hundreds and hundreds of banks” tapped the loan fund. “Can you tell us who they are?” Sanders pressed. “No,” Bernanke said, because it would be “counterproductive.” “Isn't that too bad?” Sanders interjected. “Isn't that too bad in they took the money but they don't want to be public about the fact that they received it?”
Sanders previously sought the names of the loan recipients in a February 4 letter to Bernanke. “Given the size of these commitments it is incomprehensible that the American people have not received specific details about them,” Sanders wrote.
The senator had asked Bernanke in writing to identify each business the Federal Reserve assisted in the past two years, sought details on the type and value of the assistance, the repayment terms, and the rationale for the taxpayer-backed loans.
Bernanke refused to offer specifics.
Sanders, who voted against the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, noted that the Treasury Department has identified the banks and other firms that received those funds. “Why is there transparency for the $700 billion but secrecy about the $2.2 trillion?” Sanders asked.
To read the bill, click here.
To read Sanders letter to Bernanke, click here.