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Senator Begich Joins Senate Republicans, Calls for Audit of Federal Reserve

First Democrat in Senate to co-sponsor Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2011

U.S. Senator Mark Begich has added his voice to those calling for an additional audit of the Federal Reserve by the General Accounting Office (GAO). He signed onto the bill this past Tuesday and is the first Democrat to join 31 Republicans in co-sponsoring the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of  2011 (S.202). His co-sponsorship is the latest of several steps Begich has taken to improve public awareness of actions at the nation’s central bank.

“I have long been an advocate for transparency in government in general and the Federal Reserve in particular,” Senator Begich said.  “I believe in the independence and dual mandate of the Federal Reserve to control inflation and lower unemployment, but its actions should not be shrouded in mystery. The American people have a right to understand the inner workings of their central bank.”

Begich previously supported a bipartisan amendment to the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which required an audit of emergency credit programs and potential conflicts of interest at the Federal Reserve. Begich also joined other Senators in demanding the Fed release the identities of banks and other financial institutions that took out loans during the financial crisis under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

Senator Begich is an original cosponsor of the Federal Reserve Independence Act (S.3219), which would prohibit CEOs of big banks from serving as directors of Federal Reserve banks, and vice versa. As it stands, eighteen former and current members of the boards of directors of the Federal Reserve banks were affiliated with banks that received emergency loans from the Federal Reserve System during the financial crisis.

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