Is a Federal Reserve Audit Getting Closer?
An interesting group is forming in the Senate with plans to fight for an amendment to the Wall Street reform bill that would expose the Federal Reserve to a serious audit by the Government Accountability Office. Sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the language is modeled after an amendment that passed the House and was sponsored there by Reps. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas). Sanders is joined by four Republicans, John McCain (Ariz.), Jim DeMint (S.C.), David Vitter (La.) and Sam Brownback (Kan.). If Democrats in the Senate back the measure, it would have at least 63 votes, but Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is opposed and has argued against the broad audit, which again raises questions of Dodd's plans to become a lobbyist, possibly even for the Fed or affiliated groups, after he retires from the senate this year. The group is busy bringing in cosponsors as the Senate continues to vote to break a GOP filibuster. So now we have multiple cross-currents in this effort to regulate the banking industry: The Republicans are nakedly using their opposition to reform as a way to raise more and more campaign cash from the big banks, while the Democrat in charge of the effort, Chris Dodd, seems committed to keeping the bill week and his option to get a job as a lobbyist when he leaves the senate open. The big losers in this deal? The people of America and the economy of the world. The winners? The banksters. Now may be a good time to call Chris Dodd and tell him that auditing the Fed and passing really, really strong financial services industry regulation is necessary.