Vitter to push for tougher Fed audit

Saturday, May 8, 2010
By Paul Martin

By Silla Brush
The Hill.com
05/07/10

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) will push for tougher audits of the Federal Reserve after similar legislation was scaled back on Thursday.

Vitter will offer an amendment to Wall Street overhaul legislation that is identical to legislation that passed the House in December and that was backed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

Vitter had been a supporter of related legislation sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that would have given greater power to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit the central bank and disclose how trillions of dollars were spent during the financial crisis.

The Federal Reserve and White House officials warned the original version of the legislation would threaten the independence of monetary policy in the United States.

Sanders agreed to modify the legislation on Thursday to include a “one time” audit of the Fed’s activities during the financial crisis and require the central bank to post on its website the beneficiaries of its emergency lending. The GAO would also be given greater power to audit the governance structure of the Fed. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said he supported the new version of the legislation.

On the Senate floor, Sanders said he wanted to preserve the independence of the Fed. Later on Thursday, Paul said Sanders “sold out”.

Paul is a longtime critic of the central bank and said he wants greater audits of how the central bank sets monetary policy.

A Vitter aide said Friday that the senator would offer an amendment to the Wall Street overhaul bill that is “word for word” what Paul secured in the House and that passed there in December.

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