Saturday, September 26, 2009

Entire Hearing on H.R. 1207 in House Finance Committee

on September 25, 2009. Historic, as Barney Frank says.

Here's the link to yesterday's entire full-committee hearing of H.R. 1207 in House Financial Services Committee.

I was impressed with the disciplined way that Chairman Barney Frank ran his committee when I was watching part of the hearing, but I now have some respect for him (which it hardly existed in me before) after hearing his opening remark. I missed it yesterday, as I caught only the last hour or so of the hearing.

Barney Frank started off by saying "This is a historic hearing." He noted that Ron Paul first filed this bill for the first time in 1983, and 12 years that the Republican Party control the agenda of the Committee they found no time for the hearing . He was pleased, in the show of bipartisanship, to be the one to give this important piece of legislation its first hearing ever.

Frank went on to state that the openness and transparency issue with the Federal Reserve was a bipartisan issue, and was not new; in fact, under Chairman Gonzales in 1983, the Committee succeeded in making the Federal Reserve more open. At that time, the meetings of FOMC were kept secret. The Federal Reserve denied even the existence of the minutes of the meetings, which happened to be found later in a drawer, Frank remarked.

Also (and that's where he gained my respect), he said in 2003 Ron Paul had been slated to be the chairman of the Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee, and that subcommittee immediately disappeared. It was merged into the International Monetary Policy Subcommittee. "There were people who wanted to shield the Federal Reserve from Mr. Paul's influence," Frank said.

Before he yielded to Ron Paul for his opening remarks, Frank expressed his concerns in proceeding with the legislation, which he had already expressed previously; that he didn't want to make the disclosure of the audit results interfere with the market in any way, and wouldn't want to allow any party from profiting from the Fed's moves (buying and selling in the financial market).

Well, many think that's been happening already anyway for quite a long time. He doesn't need to worry about that aspect, because that's what many large, influential financial institutions have already been successful in anticipating the Fed's moves and profiting from it, with or without insider knowledge.

I would love to know (on top of my head, for no particular order):

  • Where did the money go and how much, and how was it used, in foreign currency swaps;
  • Fed's relationship with primary dealers in stock, bond, and commodity markets
  • Detailed accounting for the TARP money that the Fed administered
  • What exactly is in the Maiden Lane portfolio and how they are valued
  • Physical gold audit (why is it priced at $42, anyway?)
  • Mark to market value of its assets (agency bonds, MBS, and all the "assets" that the Fed got in exchange for the various loans)
  • What are the "Other assets" on their balance sheet
  • Why they stopped disclosing M3
  • Detailed accounting of the ownership of the Fed (who exactly are the shareholders?)


Jr Deputy Accountant said...

Please read and let me know what you think?

FT picked me up on it too:

thoughts on any of those pieces would be appreciated - email is on my sidebar.

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