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Opinion: Transparency wars update

By Ron Andersen

In a clear case of the Empire striking back, Mel Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, who chairs the domestic monetary policy and technology subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee has “gutted” H.R. 1207, the bill to audit the Federal Reserve. Some possible motivations for Mr. Watt’s actions come from American Banking News.

“Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) has its headquarters in his congressional district, which is based in Charlotte…Watt’s largest contributors included American Express (NYSE: AXP), Wachovia, Bank of America and the American Bankers Association. Altogether the financial industry donated over $217,109 to Watt, which was over 35 percent of the overall contributions he received.”

Bloomberg reports on the key provisions taken out of the bill:

“The bill, with 308 co-sponsors, has been stripped of provisions that would remove Fed exemptions from audits of transactions with foreign central banks, monetary policy deliberations, transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee and communications between the Board, the reserve banks and staff”

Ron Paul, the author of H.R. 1207, plans to offer an amendment when the new bill reaches the floor. Barney Frank, the Chairman of the Financial Services Committee said the legislation will likely be rolled into the broader financial regulation package, currently still in progress.

And speaking of Bloomberg, the story of they’re lawsuit, filed under the Freedom of Information Act against the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, seems to have disappeard. When last heard from, the government had 30 days to appeal. Those 30 days were up in early October, but there’s been no news on the outcome. My only guess is that there must be some back room negotiations taking place.

One thing for certain in all this; finding out what the government is doing with our money is not going to be easy.

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