WASHINGTON, March 31 – Under court order, the Federal Reserve today identified more banks that took loans during the financial crisis using a once-secret system that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called “welfare for the rich and powerful.”
A Sanders provision in the Wall Street reform law already had forced the Fed last Dec. 1 to name banks that took trillions of dollars in emergency loans during the crisis.
“The Federal Reserve bailout was welfare for the rich and powerful and you-are-on-your-own rugged individualism for everyone else,” Sanders said. “The information released by the Fed today should never have been kept secret. This money does not belong to the Federal Reserve; it belongs to the American people. I applaud Bloomberg News, Fox News and others for their success in lifting another veil of secrecy at the Fed.”
Sanders said the latest disclosure raises questions about conflicts of interest. While Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, served on the board of directors of the New York Fed, in one month alone, April of 2008, JPMorgan Chase received a combined $313 billion in Fed loans directly benefitting JP Morgan Chase and other financial institutions.
“This is an obvious conflict of interest on its face that must be investigated as part of the independent audit that my amendment requires to be completed this summer. When JPMorgan Chase was telling the world about their great financial success, it seems like they were using the Fed’s discount window as a giant piggy bank.”
Sanders’ provision in the Wall Street reform bill required the central bank to disclose which financial institutions, corporations, and foreign central banks took more than $3 trillion in what were secret loans.
His amendment also directed the Government Accountability Office to conduct the first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve. The findings of that investigation by the non-partisan research arm of Congress are due to be made public this July.