Rehberg Urges Committee to Take Urgent Action
Congressman Denny Rehberg, on Wednesday sent a letter to Rep. Darrell E. Issa (CA-49) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD-7), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, urgently requesting a legislative markup of H.R. 459. The Federal Reserve Transparency Act would remove critical restrictions to fully disclosing the inner workings of the most powerful bank in the world, an important step after the Wall Street Journal discovered potentially serious instances of Fed advisers profiting off of privileged information.
“When I heard that elected officials and their staff were profiting off of insider information, I sponsored the STOCK Act to put an end to it,” said Rehberg. “Now we’re learning that some pretty high-level advisers within the Federal Reserve system may be doing the same thing. If that’s the case, I can’t think of a more insulting violation of the public trust. It’s time to open the doors at the Fed and shine some light in.”
In a November 23 story, “Investors Bullish on Fed Tips,” the Wall Street Journal reported that people close to the Federal Reserve – including the Chairman himself – may have used privileged information not available to the general public to make profitable investment decisions.
This accusation mirrors reports of Members of Congress and their staff doing the same thing. A Wall Street Journal investigation revealed 72 instances of potential insider trading among Congressional aides on both sides of the aisle. This sort of insider trading is illegal on Wall Street and in private business, but there is no regulation to prevent Congressional Representatives or their staff from leveraging the privileged information access they enjoy for personal gain. This fact prompted Rehberg to sponsor the bipartisan STOCK Act.
“Some politicians have been eager to criticize the impropriety of the private sector while ignoring and even covering up the even greater problems within the government,” said Rehberg. “If we want to liberate Main Street to create jobs, we’ve got to be willing to address all challenges, both on Wall Street and on Constitution Avenue.”
Rehberg’s Letter is Below:
November 23, 2011
Dear Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Cummings:
I am writing to request a markup of Representative Ron Paul’s legislation, H.R. 459, the “Federal Reserve Transparency Act.” As a long-time proponent of Dr. Paul’s “Audit the Fed” legislation, I believe it is crucial that Congress act quickly to move this bill forward so that the entire Federal Reserve is opened to increased transparency and scrutiny.
On October 4th, a hearing was held on Dr. Paul’s bill and general Federal Reserve transparency issues in the Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology. On October 19th, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued their final audit of the Federal Reserve that details the numerous and egregious conflicts of interest at the Federal Reserve during the height of the financial crisis. Because of the gap between the hearing and issuance of the October GAO report, it is necessary that Congress take immediate action to schedule a markup of Audit the Fed legislation to further examine these conflicts of interest and move the audit bill forward. Furthermore, media reports have detailed that Federal Reserve insiders – including the Chairman himself – may have used privileged information not available to the general public to make profitable investment decisions.
Time is of the essence in this matter. We can no longer delay in ensuring that the Federal Reserve has complete transparency in its actions. I ask you to schedule a markup of H.R. 459 as soon as your committee schedule permits. Thank you for your attention to this important issue.
From Rehberg Press Office