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Posts Tagged ‘Transparency’

You can make the difference this week

Monday, January 25th, 2010

January 25, 2010

Dear Pennsylvania Subscriber,

After a full year of rope-a-done and refusing to have his Federal Reserve audited, Ben Bernanke is on the ropes and could be knocked out for re-nomination.

Campaign for Liberty activists are in the lead insisting “No Audit, No Bernanke.” Please immediately call Senator Bob Casey and Senator Arlen Specter at the numbers below and tell them (again, if you’ve already called) “No Audit, No Bernanke.”

Here’s what’s going on:

Campaign for Liberty launced a nationwide fight against a bailout for Bernanke last week. Now we are following it up with phones, email and banner ads targeting over a dozen swing-vote senators.

The Senate is boiling over with outrage about the Fed’s abuse of the TARP program, bailouts, and money supply, as well as its refusal to submit to a full and complete audit.

Now is the time to deal the knockout blow!

Please call your senators at the numbers below and join in the fight:

Senator Bob Casey: 202-224-6324
Senator Arlen Specter: 202-224-4254

Tell them that Ben Bernanke must not be confirmed without an up or down roll call vote for Audit the Fed on the Senate floor.

This fight is really coming to a head, and the decision could will likely come in the next few days. Please call now.

In liberty,

John Tate

P.S. Thanks to the efforts of patriots like you, Ben Bernanke’s days of secrecy at the Federal Reserve may be numbered!

That’s because his confirmation is being held up until the Senate votes on Audit the Fed. Please call your senators at the numbers above and tell them plain and simple: “No Audit, No Bernanke.”

Congressman Paul Discusses Financial Crisis with David Asman

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Fox Business, Jan. 14th, 2010 – On Thursday, Texas District 14 Congressman Ron Paul appeared on Fox Business to discuss runaway spending and printing, the Freddie and Fannie Mac mess, the Geithner-AIG affair, and Federal Reserve transparency.


Audit the Fed Attached as an Amendment

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Texas Straight Talk – A weekly column
Rep. Ron Paul (R) – TX 14

I was pleased last week when we won a vote in the Financial Services Committee to include language from the Audit the Fed bill HR1207 in the upcoming financial regulatory reform bill. As it stands now, if HR 3996 passes, because of this action, the Federal Reserve’s entire balance sheet will be opened up to a GAO audit. We will at last have a chance to find out what happened to the trillions of dollars the Fed has been giving out.

Finally, the blanket restrictions on GAO audits of the Fed that have existed since 1978 will be removed. All items on the Fed’s balance sheet will be auditable, including all credit facilities, all securities purchase programs, and all agreements with foreign central banks. To calm fears that we might be trying to substitute congressional action for Fed mischief in tinkering with monetary policy, we agreed to a 180 day lag time before details of the Fed’s market actions are released and included language to state explicitly that nothing in the amendment should be construed as interference in or dictation of monetary policy by Congress or the GAO. This left no reasonable objections standing and the amendment passed with a vote of 43 to 26.

This was a major triumph for transparency and accountability in government. With unprecedented turmoil in the financial markets, the people are demanding to know and understand the extent of the Federal Reserve’s involvement in the creation of out-of-control business cycles, who they are helping, and how. We need information. The excuses for not giving out this information are flimsy at best, and the passage of this amendment is a major step to finally getting at the truth.

Of course I could not have done this without the help and support of many other members who have been strong allies in this fight. Having over 300 cosponsors was obviously helpful.

However, as great as this victory is, we have to remember that this amendment is attached to a bill that would give sweeping new powers to the Federal Reserve. The Fed has taken its mandate to maintain stable prices and full employment and used its immense power to help elite friends at the great expense of everyone else. The answer is not to increase their powers and ability to interfere in the economy, but that is what the legislation will do. It is a disaster waiting to happen, and unfortunately it looks as if it will pass.

At least with the Audit the Fed amendment attached to the bill, the Fed will not be able to do its destructive work in secret. The people will know exactly who the beneficiaries are of this immoral system of money management.

Americans Deserve a Transparent Fed

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Trillion-dollar interventions in the economy merit scrutiny by taxpayers and their representatives.


For nearly a century the Federal Reserve has operated in the shadows, away from the prying eyes of Congress, journalists and the American people. Created in 1913, the Fed was given enormous responsibility to protect the value of our currency. Yet in the last 96 years the U.S. dollar has lost more than 95% of its purchasing power. The Fed’s unprecedented actions over the past year in attempting to stabilize the financial system have now forced it into the spotlight, and caused millions of people around the country to question the opacity of the Fed’s financial transactions.

While the Fed is more transparent now than it was 20 or 30 years ago, there is still a long way to go. If the Fed were fully transparent, organizations such as Bloomberg and Fox News wouldn’t have to sue its board of governors to receive materials that should be available through Freedom of Information Act requests. These include information on which banks and companies received loans and for what amounts after the 2008 financial meltdown.

One puzzling assertion made by the Fed and its supporters is that the Federal Reserve has some sort of independence from the government and independence in undertaking monetary policy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Federal Reserve is a government-created banking monopoly, and its top decision makers are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. If they do not perform satisfactorily in the eyes of politicians, they will not be renominated.

The Fed has also, for the past three decades, been required to engage in monetary policy with the goal of maintaining stable prices and full employment. Since the natural trend over time is for prices to decrease, a mandate to maintain stable prices is a mandate to pursue an expansionary monetary policy and inflate the money supply to counteract the lower prices we would expect from increased productivity.

The Fed chairman is required to appear twice a year before Congress to explain the Fed’s actions, and how the Fed is complying with its mandates of stable prices and full employment. However, the idea that this constitutes any sort of oversight is laughable.

Each congressman who questions the chairman receives only a few minutes in which to ask questions and receive answers. Having been on the receiving end of Alan Greenspan’s notoriously obtuse “Greenspan-Speak” answers and Ben Bernanke’s similarly convoluted statements, we can assure you that the process is completely ineffective at getting any real answers.

No matter how direct the questions are, Fed chairmen answer with a vagueness common to bureaucrats. The whole process is window dressing for public consumption, not any sort of attempt to exercise oversight or gain any real insight into the Fed’s actions.

What is needed is a full audit of the Fed, something that has never happened. We need to know who the Fed is giving money to, what types of securities are being purchased and what backs those securities, how much money is being paid for those securities, etc.

While Rep. Mel Watt’s (D., N.C.) efforts to audit the new lending facilities authorized to bail out private firms such as AIG is a step in the right direction, it is still just a first step. These facilities have the same effect on the money supply as securities purchased through open market operations. Why should securities placed on one line of the Fed’s balance sheet be subject to audit while the exact same securities placed elsewhere on the balance sheet are not subject to audit? The loopholes need to be closed.

In coming weeks we plan to offer companion amendments to legislation already before the House and Senate that will open the Fed up to a complete audit. The amendments set a six-month time lag on the publication of previously unreleased audit data to address the Fed’s concerns that actions undertaken in support of monetary policy would immediately be politicized. The transcripts and minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meetings would continue to be made public at the Fed’s discretion, with unpublicized details of meetings not subject to any additional scrutiny. Finally, the amendments make clear that the purpose of the audits is not to interfere with or dictate monetary policy.

As strong opponents of government intervention into the economy, we do not want to see Congress directly dictate monetary policy. But while the Fed is involved so heavily in monetary policy and its actions so heavily influence the future of our economy, it is necessary that it be fully transparent. Interventions into the economy on the order of trillions of dollars cannot continue to escape public scrutiny. American taxpayers deserve better.

Mr. Paul is a Republican congressman from Texas. Mr. DeMint is a Republican senator from South Carolina.

We Need Sunlight to Disinfect the Legislative Process!

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Texas Straight Talk – A weekly Column
Rep. Ron Paul (R) – TX 14

During August recess, many legislators have heard an unexpected amount of discontent from their constituents about what is happening on Capitol Hill, particularly regarding healthcare. Some people are justifiably terrified at what the government could do to healthcare, should it get its claws even further into it. Others demand a public option for health insurance and are adamant that healthcare be treated as yet other absolute entitlement. One thing everyone agrees on is that the final bill needs to be read and understood by all legislators before a vote is taken. To any American, this is common sense. In Washington, that is unlikely to happen.

There is much confusion and debate over what is and is not in the reform plan being considered. Are there or are there not so-called death panels? What are the end-of-life consultations really for? How will private insurance be affected? Can you keep your current plan or will you eventually be forced into a government plan? Will it pay for elective abortions or not? What are the implications for medical privacy? The truth is no one knows what will be in the final bill until it is on the House floor, and provisions could be added in and taken out in the wee hours of the morning before.

In February, the House was forced to vote on an over 1,000 page “stimulus” bill that had first been posted on the internet just after midnight the morning of the vote. It passed. Then in June, House leaders rushed a vote on the cap-and-trade bill, even though an over 300 page “manager’s amendment” making substantive changes to the bill, was introduced shortly after 3:00 a.m. the morning of the vote.

Washington thrives on crisis. If enough people can be convinced that we are in an emergency, they will more likely tolerate rushing legislation to the floor like this. Last minute changes will be slipped in, benefitting who knows what special interests and at what expense to the taxpayer. But the mantra is repeated over and over: We are in a crisis. We must act immediately.

It should be unconscionable for legislators to vote in favor of legislation they have not had the opportunity to read. This is why I have re-introduced the Sunlight Rule, H.Res 216. The Sunlight Rule prohibits any piece of legislation from being brought before the House of Representatives unless it has been available to read for at least 10 days.

The Sunlight Rule allows citizens to move for censure of any House Member who votes for a bill in violation of this act. Because the Sunlight Rule could never be waived, any Member could raise a point of order requiring any bill in violation to be immediately pulled from the House calendar until it can be brought to the floor in a manner consistent with this rule. This rule does not require that Members read the bills. It merely guarantees the opportunity to do so. It has 4 cosponsors.

Justice Louis Brandeis famously said, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” The Sunlight Rule would do much towards negating the cycle of pseudo-crises and cleaning up the legislative process here in Washington. I sincerely hope this is the year Congress remembers its deliberative duties and passes it.

Announcing AuditTheFed.com!

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Dear Friend of Liberty,

As you and I both know, Campaign for Liberty is leading the fight to pass Ron Paul’s bill to Audit the Fed. With 282 cosponsors in the House and 23 in the Senate, your efforts have so far proven very successful in establishing large, bipartisan support for Federal Reserve transparency. We’ve come a long way in demonstrating to the nation that monetary policy is a critical issue, and every day more and more people are waking up to the harm that the Fed has caused our economy.

But our mission is not yet complete. There are more Americans to educate, more signatures to collect, and more work to be done to combat the “big guns” that have come out against Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill. That’s why today I’m proud to announce that we’ve taken the next step in our efforts by launching AuditTheFed.com, a focused, coalition website with one purpose: to push this historic piece of legislation through Congress, past the President’s desk, and into law.

AuditTheFed.com includes: contact information for your congressman and senators, petitions, widgets, and banners to promote the website, dynamic graphs of the bill’s cosponsors, a detailed summary of the Audit the Fed bill, a list of our growing coalition, a blog to keep you up to date on all the latest Audit the Fed news, a sign up for email updates, and social networks to help get the word out online. This website was designed to put you, the liberty-loving activist, in a position to efficiently and effectively promote Audit the Fed to family, friends, neighbors, and strangers alike.

This new website is the latest addition to our efforts to Audit the Fed, but it is by no means the culmination. Stay tuned to CampaignforLiberty.com in the coming days for information on how we plan to mobilize to gain not only more cosponsors for HR 1207 and S 604, but support for a vote in the House and Senate.

For Liberty,
John Tate


P.S. If you are able, please consider donating to Campaign for Liberty today to help ensure Audit the Fed becomes law and we can finally bring transparency and accountability to one of our country’s most secretive institutions.

Fed Independence or Fed Secrecy?

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Texas Straight Talk – A weekly column

Rep. Ron Paul (R) – TX 14

Last week I was very pleased that hearings were held on the independence of the Federal Reserve system. My bill HR 1207, known as the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, was discussed at length, as well as the general question of whether or not the Federal Reserve should continue to operate independently.

The public is demanding transparency in government like never before. A majority of the House has cosponsored HR 1207. Yet, Senator Jim DeMint’s heroic efforts to attach it to another piece of legislation elicited intense opposition by the Senate leadership.

The hearings on Capitol Hill provided us with a great deal of information about the types of arguments that will be levied against meaningful transparency and how the secretive central bankers will defend the status quo that is so beneficial to them.

Claims are made that auditing the Fed would compromise its independence. However, by independence, they really mean secrecy. The Fed clearly cherishes its vast power to create and spend trillions of dollars, diluting the value of every other dollar in circulation, making deals with other central banks, and bailing out cronies, all to the detriment of the taxpayer, and to the enrichment of themselves. I am happy to challenge this type of “independence”.

They claim the Fed is endowed with special intellectual abilities with which to control the market and that central bankers magically know what the market needs. We should just trust them. This is patently ridiculous. The market is a complex and intricate thing. No one knows what the market needs other than the market itself. It sends signals, such as prices, that should be reacted to and respected, not thwarted and controlled. Bankers are not all-knowing and cannot ignore the rules of supply and demand. They might act as if they are, but their manipulation of the market just ends up throwing it wildly off balance, which gives us the boom and bust cycles.

They claim the Fed must remain apolitical. No organization is apolitical that relies on the President to appoint the Chairman. In fact, it is subject to the worst sort of politics – power to create trillions of dollars and affect the value of every dollar in the country without the accountability of direct elections or meaningful oversight! The Fed typically enacts monetary policy that is favorable to particular administrations close to elections, to the detriment of long term considerations. They do this partly because of the political appointee process for the Chairmanship.

The only accountability the Federal Reserve has is ultimately to Congress, which granted its charter and can revoke it at any time. It is Congress’s constitutional duty to protect the value of the money, and they have abdicated this responsibility for far too long. This was the issue that got me involved in politics 35 years ago. It is very encouraging to finally see the issue getting some needed exposure and traction. It is regrettable that it took a crisis of this magnitude to get a serious debate on this issue.

Senate Rejects ‘Audit the Fed’ Bill as an Amendment

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Representative Ron Paul continues to receive cosponsors on his Audit the Fed bill (H.R. 1207). With 245 cosponsors in total, one has to wonder why this bill has been unable to move ahead in the House for floor debate and an eventual floor vote.

The Senate companion bill (S. 604) offered by Senator Bernard Sanders (R-VT) carries only 3 cosponsors (Senators Mike Crapo, R-ID; Jim DeMint, R-SC; and David Vitter, R-LA). However, the Senate version of the bill had a chance for passage when Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) opted to attach S. 604 to the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act (H.R. 2918) as an amendment. DeMint’s attempt to force the Senate to consider the bill through the amendment process failed when Senate leaders rejected having a vote on the amendment claiming it violated Senate rules. The appropriations bill passed without a vote on the DeMint amendment, even though the bill had several other provisions for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit various other agencies. (Click here for a video of Senator DeMint’s statement on his amendment.)

This issue cannot be ignored forever. With more and more support to audit the Federal Reserve, congressional leaders will soon have to deal with this issue in one way or another.

Continue to contact Congress and urge them to support H.R. 1207 and S. 604. If your representative and senators are co-sponsors already – GREAT! If not, you should continue to call, e-mail, or visit their office. Let them know that you support a complete audit of the Federal Reserve and that you wish for them to become a sponsor of either H.R. 1207 or S. 604.

Thank you,
Your friends at The John Birch Society

Audit The Fed!

Monday, July 6th, 2009

July 6, 2009

Dear Friend of Liberty,

Earlier today, the first shot in our battle to pass Audit the Fed through the U.S. Senate was fired on the Senate floor by Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

Senator DeMint, who has a well-deserved reputation for taking the battle to the other side in the Senate, once again proved why he is such a valuable ally in our fight to bring transparency and accountability to the Federal Reserve.

A little while ago, the Senate voted to pass HR 2918, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act. This $3 billion bill contains, among many other things, provisions for GAO audits on certain agencies.

Seizing on a chance to take quick action to bring Audit the Fed up for a vote, and with the GAO provisions in mind, Senator DeMint attached the full text of S 604, the Senate version of Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed bill, to HR 2918 as Senate Amendment 1367 before it was considered for final passage.

However, Senate Democrats refused to even allow a vote on the amendment! That’s right. The internationalist, Fed-loving elite in the Senate used a parliamentary tactic to shut down DeMint’s amendment.

After Senator DeMint brought Audit the Fed to the floor, Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska raised a “point of order” to prevent a vote, claiming that the amendment violated Senate Rule 16 by “legislating” on an appropriations bill. The Senate president agreed, and the amendment was shot down.

Senator DeMint did not back down, though, and directly challenged Senate leadership by pointing out the other GAO audits contained in the bill. As Senator DeMint listed them off, the Senate president was forced to agree with Senator DeMint that each one he described, all of which would be left in for final passage, also violated Senate Rule 16.

Which tells us at least one thing: the problem wasn’t with “legislating” on the bill or violating Senate Rules (which is commonly done). Shooting down the amendment was about preventing a thorough audit of the Federal Reserve for the first time in its history!

Senate leadership is hoping this issue will just fade away so they can get on to what they deem to be more “important” business, like dictating what kind of healthcare plan you and I can carry or passing destructive Cap-and-Tax legislation.

But the American people deserve answers on what the Fed has done with trillions of our tax dollars and what they are committing us and future generations to as part of their secret deals with foreign central banks and governments.

The leadership decided today to turn their backs on transparency, but our fight is just beginning.

As Senator DeMint made clear on the floor, the Audit the Fed bill has wide bipartisan support. He rightly warned the Senate that even if they delay today, they WILL have to deal with the issue on the floor.

It is up to you and me to back up Senator DeMint’s words by making sure the momentum continues to build and the bill comes up for a final vote.

The rejection of the Audit amendment is just the first battle in our war. Now is the time to really put the pressure on the U.S. Senate to Audit the Fed!

Senator DeMint fired the opening salvo and showcased the hypocrisy of the Senate for allowing other GAO audits to be included in the bill while refusing to even allow a vote on Fed transparency.

Again, we’re just getting started. Senator DeMint will keep fighting to pass Audit the Fed on its own or as an amendment, and we need to continue putting pressure on our senators to do everything in their power to achieve a floor vote!

Visit our Audit the Fed action page for contact information to call, write, and fax your senators and urge them to support S 604 and to push for a final vote.

Together, we will finish this fight to Audit the Fed!

In Liberty,

John Tate


Patrick Murphy’s (PA -8) response to HR1207

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

June 29, 2009

Dear Ms. Serdula:

Thank you for contacting me in regards to H.R. 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009. As I work to meet the needs of our community and our nation, please know how much I value having the benefit of your views.

During this current recession it is crucial that we take action to
jumpstart the economy and put Americans back to work, while always being mindful of the bottom line. Reckless spending without oversight is not the answer. As your Congressman, I have strongly advocated the need to monitor our spending and ensure transparency in all government agencies and programs.

For these reasons, I am pleased to report to you that I am a proud
cosponsor of H.R. 1207. As you know, H.R. 1207 requires the Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit the Federal Reserve banks and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System by the end of 2010, and to submit a report of their findings to Congress. The bill also lifts certain previous restrictions that limited the GAO’s ability to perform audits on federal agencies. The Federal Reserve plays an important role by serving as a backbone for the banking system, but it has too often conducted its operations in an unclear manner and with minimal oversight. In light of its responsibilities, it is imperative that the Federal Reserve’s operations are fully transparent, and I believe H.R. 1207 contains the measures necessary to ensure that this is the case. By eliminating restrictions on GAO audits, the bill will open up the Fed’s funding facilities – such as the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, Term Securities Lending Facility, and Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility – to Congressional oversight. Congress and the American people will be able to monitor how and to whom the Federal Reserve is lending taxpayer dollars.

Our recent economic difficulties further underscore the need for
openness and accountability in this area. You may also be interested to know that I voted for H.R. 384, the Troubled Assets Relief Program
(TARP) Reform and Accountability Act of 2009. This important bill would bring much needed accountability and transparency to the way in which TARP money has been distributed to banks and financial institutions. I’ve been very upset to hear the reports of how this money has been distributed, and even angrier to hear that it required the threat of a subpoena to force financial institutions to release details about their involvement with this program. In particular, I felt it was necessary to shed light on the half a trillion dollar deal, made last November, in which the Federal Reserve purchased mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and then contracted out the management of these securities to four private investment firms. The American people have a right to know how this arrangement was conducted, which is why I introduced an amendment to H.R. 384 that requires the Federal Reserve to disclose how the investment managers for the MBS Purchase Program were selected. In addition, the amendment necessitates that the government provide details of both the manager contracts and the steps taken to ensure that the program remains free from conflicts of interest. This amendment unanimously passed the House on January 15, 2009, and H.R. 384 is currently awaiting consideration by the Senate.

Guaranteeing oversight and financial responsibility has always been one
of my foremost priorities. In the last session of Congress, I introduced H.R. 5467, the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act
of 2008. This legislation, which was cosponsored by Congressman Ron
Paul, requires the head of each federal agency to annually review all
agency programs and identity those programs and activities that made
payments that should never have been paid – either through error or
ineligibility. This bill is a necessary step in the process of getting
our fiscal house in order, and I look forward to reintroducing it to the
111th Congress and working towards its passage.

Hearing from the families I serve is vital to doing my job right.
Thanks again for taking the time to share your concerns and I hope you will keep in touch with me on this or any other issue that is important to you. To stay informed of my work, or to sign up for my electronic newsletters, please visit my website at http://patrickmurphy.house.gov . Also, please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can help in any way. You can reach my office in Washington at 202-225-4276, my office in Doylestown at 215-348-1194, and my office in Bristol at 215-826-1963.


Patrick J. Murphy