Warren Seeks Bipartisan Support For Federal Reserve Transparency

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has reached across the aisle to bring more transparency to the financial sector.

Warren partnered with Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana to introduce the Fed Accountability Act.

The Fed Accountability Act would require federal enforcement agencies to make detailed and accessible disclosures about any government settlements worth more than $1 million, and the board’s votes on those deals would be public record. Copies of the agreements would also have to be available online.

"The Fed needs to be independent, transparent and accountable," Vitter said, according to a press release on his official website. "But under its current structure, the Board of Governors doesn’t act with complete autonomy and succumbs to groupthink. If Board members can think for themselves and are held accountable, taxpayers are less likely to be asked to bail out the megabanks.

"We recently made huge progress to improve the Federal Reserve by requiring that they have at least one member with Community banking experience. This bill will also help fix the too big to fail groupthink we’ve seen at the Fed."

"The Fed’s Board of Governors is our first line of defense against another financial crisis," Warren said. "Members of the Board should have the resources they need to make their own decisions on important matters, and their decisions on major enforcement matters should be made public. By bringing greater transparency and accountability to the Fed, the bill will improve the Fed’s oversight of our biggest financial institutions."

Senator Warren has also introduced a similar bill, The Truth in Settlements Act, with Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma.

"When government agencies reach settlements with companies that break the law, they should disclose the terms of those deals to the public," Warren said, according to a press release on her official website. "Anytime an agency decides that an enforcement action is needed, but it is not willing to go to court, that agency should be willing to disclose the key terms and conditions of the agreement. Increased transparency will shut down backroom deal-making and ensure that Congress, citizens and watchdog groups can hold regulatory agencies accountable for strong and effective enforcement that benefits the public interest."

Sources: Lowell Sun, Law 360, Official Website of Sen. David Vitter, Official Website of Sen. Elizabeth Warren / Image via AFGE/Flickr