Magazine article American Banker

Fed Seeks Compromise on Releasing Transcripts

Magazine article American Banker

Fed Seeks Compromise on Releasing Transcripts

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve officials hope to negotiate a deal to release partial records of past monetary policy meetings, according to documents released by the House Banking Committee.

The central bank has considered a plan to release edited transcripts of past meetings. with a lag of three years, the documents indicate. In addition, the documents detail fears by Fed officials that the Justice Department would not support the agency should it face a legal battle over release of the records.

The information was detailed in Federal Reserve notes of a telephone meeting held by governors and district bank presidents in anticipation of a House Banking Committee hearing in October. The notes were obtained by the committee and released to the public.

Firmly Opposed, Publicly

Until now, Fed officials have been steadfast in their opposition to public release of the documents. The argue that without a guarantee of privacy, their ability to conduct monetary policy would be hindered. They assert that discussion of the full range of monetary policy options available to them, problems at specific banks, and consideration of international events would be hindered.

But Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez chairman of the House Banking Committee, has said that in order for the Fed to remain fully accountable to the public, it must have full and speedy access to monetary policy decisions, as well as deliberations leading up to the debates. He has introduced legislation requiring the Fed to release full transcripts of the meetings 30 days afterwards. …

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