Supreme Court Says Fed Must Release Bailout Data
The Federal Reserve must disclose information about its emergency loans, or “bailouts,” to banks during the 2008 financial crisis, the Supreme Court ruled without comment on Monday, according to Reuters. The information released will include the names of the banks that received money.
Both Bloomberg News and Fox News Network had sought bailout details under the freedom of information act. A federal appeals court had ruled in the case that the Federal Reserve, which at the start of the meltdown pumped over $700 billion into the financial system to avoid a second Great Depression, must turn over the information. A “group representing major commercial banks” appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, which dismissed the appeal.
A Fed spokesman told CNN that some of the information had already been disclosed in accordance with the Dodd-Frank financial system reform act.
The disclosures, wrote The Atlantic’s David Indiviglio, will likely attract the scrutiny of Fed watchdogs like Texas congressman and “End the Fed” author Ron Paul and may make the Fed more transparent, which would benefit investors. “If you know one bank needed a huge loan from the Fed and the attributes that caused the need for that loan haven't changed, then you might choose to invest in another bank instead,” he wrote.
On the other hand, Fed transparency may not be all it’s cracked up to be:
The problem, however, can occur with timing. If the Fed hopes to stabilize markets in times of turmoil, then it needs secrecy to remain intact in the short-term. For example, back in 2008, it helped to slow irrational panic in part through emergency lending. If all data was immediately disclosed, panic would have instead been intensified.
The Fed has not said when it will release the data.