The Wall Street reform package currently awaiting the return of Congress from the Fourth of July recess is packed with provisions that will remake the financial landscape. One element, though, which has gotten relatively little attention in the media, is a wild card: the authorization of a far-reaching audit of the Federal Reserve for the first time in the central bank’s history.
The audit measure is retroactive — it requires unprecedented disclosure of the identity of businesses, banks, hedge funds, foreign central banks or any other entity that was on the receiving end of Fed largess, and will reveal how much they got and on what terms. The information is required to be posted online within 30 days of the law’s enactment.
Depending on what the audit turns up, the Fed could find itself back in the public eye and could face growing calls for reform. “I think once people see what the first audit discloses, they’re going to want to see more,” said Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), who, along with Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), shepherded the audit bill through the House. “We’ll be back.”
WATCH Grayson OWN Bernanke on the Hill in 2009