U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today reiterated his support for an additional audit of the Federal Reserve by the General Accounting Office (GAO). He remains the sole Democrat so far to join 18 Republicans in co-sponsoring the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2013 (S.202) in the 113th Congress. He was the only Democrat supporting the bill last year.
His co-sponsorship complements multiple steps Begich has taken to improve public awareness of actions at the nation's central bank.
"I have long been an advocate for transparency in government and the Federal Reserve is no exception," said Begich. "I believe in the independence and dual mandate of the Federal Reserve to control inflation and lower unemployment. But recent history has shown that effective oversight goes a long way in Congress being a responsible, accountable steward of taxpayer dollars. As the saying goes, sunlight is the always the best disinfectant."
The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2013 would also require a review of home foreclosures from 2009 and 2010 by problematic banks to determine whether these homeowners were subject to illegal or unscrupulous practices and whether the Federal Reserve exercised effective oversight over foreclosure procedures.
In addition to this measure, Begich also supported a bipartisan amendment to the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which required an audit of emergency credit programs and potential conflicts of interest at the Federal Reserve in the 112th Congress. Begich also joined other Senators in demanding the Fed release the identities of banks and other financial institutions that took out loans during the financial crisis under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
Senator Begich was an original cosponsor of the Federal Reserve Independence Act (S.3219), which would prohibit CEOs of big banks from serving as directors of Federal Reserve banks, and vice versa. As it stands, 18 former and current members of the boards of directors of the Federal Reserve banks were affiliated with banks that received emergency loans from the Federal Reserve System during the financial crisis.