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Mark Pittman 1, Bernanke 0 (FED Loses Latest Appeal To Limit Bailout Disclosure -- Supreme Court Is Next)

The N.Y. Federal Court of Appeals has ruled and it's not looking good for Bernanke.  The positive legacy of the late Bloomberg reporter Mark Pittman, continues to shine now months after his passing.

Story background:


Reprinted with permission.  Published this afternoon.

Fed Loses Bid for Review of Bailout Disclosure Ruling

An appeals court refused to reconsider a decision compelling the Federal Reserve Board to release documents identifying banks that might have failed without the U.S. government bailout.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals in New York, in a docket entry dated Aug. 20, denied a May 4 request by the Fed to review a three-judge panel’s unanimous March 19 decision requiring the agency to release records of the unprecedented $2 trillion U.S. loan program begun primarily after the 2008 collapse of Bear Stearns Cos.

Unless the court stays its decision, the Fed will have seven days to disclose the documents. In the event of a stay, the central bank and the Clearing House Association LLC, an organization of 20 commercial banks that joined the Fed in defense of the lawsuit, will have 90 days to petition the Supreme Court to consider their appeal. The Clearing House has already said it will ask the high court to rule on the case.

“We are reviewing the decision and considering our options for appeal,” David Skidmore, a Fed spokesman, said.

At issue are 231 “term sheets” documenting Fed loans to financial firms during 2008. The records, which include the banks’ names, the amounts borrowed and the collateral posted in return, were originally requested by late Bloomberg News reporter Mark Pittman through the Freedom of Information Act, which allows citizens access to government papers.

The March appeals court ruling upheld a decision of a lower-court judge in Manhattan who in August 2009 ordered that the information be released.

‘Competitive Injury’

The Fed argued in the case, which was brought by Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, that disclosure of the documents threatens to stigmatize borrowers and cause them “severe and irreparable competitive injury,” discouraging banks in distress from seeking help. The appeals court panel rejected that argument.

“The decision is of exceptional importance,” the Fed’s lawyers wrote in a legal brief on May 4 in which they asked the circuit court to reconsider the decision. “The real-world consequence of the panel’s decision will be serious, perhaps irreparable harm to the institutional borrowers whose information will be revealed.”

The 157-year-old New York-based Clearing House Payments Co., which processes transactions among banks, is owned by its 20 members. They include JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, PNC Financial Services Group Inc., UBS AG, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo & Co.

Clearing House Action

The Clearing House Association, a lobbying group with the same members, joined the lawsuit in September 2009, after the initial ruling against the central bank in federal court in Manhattan.

Iya Davidson, a spokeswoman for the Clearing House, didn’t return calls seeking comment.

The amount the Fed and the U.S. government lent, spent and guaranteed to stem the recession and rescue the banking system peaked in March 2009 at $12.8 trillion, most of it following the September 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

Fox News, a unit of New York-based News Corp., also sued the Fed to force the release of loan documents for transactions in 2008 and 2009.

The New York Times Co., the Associated Press and Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal, are among media companies that have signed up as friends of the court in support of Bloomberg.

Argument for Disclosure

“The public interest in disclosure in this case could hardly be greater,” the friends of the court said in their letter. Despite the Fed’s “massive outlay, the public knows little about who has received these funds or the terms of their loans. Without this information, it is impossible to monitor the Board’s actions, and FOIA’s core purpose is defeated.”

The case is Bloomberg LP v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 09-04083, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (New York).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Ivry in New York at bivry@bloomberg.net.



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Reader Comments (12)

Mark Pittman, Reporter Who Challenged Fed Secrecy, Dies at 52

Aug 23, 2010 at 5:39 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Dylan Ratigan On The Legacy Of Bloomberg Reporter Mark Pittman »

Aug 23, 2010 at 5:40 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
"Who Sues the Fed And Wins? One Reporter On The Planet," Bloomberg's Mark Pittman Dies At 52 »

Aug 23, 2010 at 5:40 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
The new federal chairman is trying to save the system. Good intent. Good man. Debt obligations, pensions, entitlements, and incidentally, although not his primary intent - American debt owners. If the system goes under, US debt becomes valueless and the debt holders are the largest losers. Pension beneficiaries of US state and local governmental entitlements will receive a Telly Savalas' haircut as a best case scenario but at least there will be a residual partial pension if the system survives.

Nearly every American has a vested interest in supporting the Federal Chairman's intent to save the system. Get it?
Aug 23, 2010 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterAmerica's Fractalist
No one ever wants to put the "glasses" on... I get it, accept the rape of the average Joe so the rich can devise new and better ways to rape him.

Aug 23, 2010 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterS. Gompers
by Robert Pollin

"This is how the stock market bubble became the bedrock of Clintonomics. Spending by households and corporations grew rapidly during the 1990s, but this was tied closely to the bubble. By 2000, households were spending a remarkable 99 cents of every dollar of disposable income, leaving only one cent on the dollar for savings. But almost all of this increased spending came from the richest 20% of households. They spent $1.04 for every dollar of income, and covered the difference by borrowing on their burgeoning paper wealth."

"Clinton handed over to Bush a precarious financial pyramid, even after allowing for his federal government surpluses. But this isn't to say that Bush is now blameless for the country's economic difficulties. His determination to deliver tax cuts for the rich -- and in particular his most recent victory in lowering taxes on dividends, from a maximum of 38.6% to a flat 15% -- is likely to lead the country into some of the same kinds of financial traps that emerged under Clintonomics."
Aug 23, 2010 at 9:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterZ
"Nearly every American has a vested interest in supporting the Federal Chairman's intent to save the system. Get it?"

No I don't get it! What I do get is this.

The only interest the chairman has is saving the big banks and the wealth of the elite. He is flushing the middle class down the toilet and he knows it.

The Federal Reserve should have a complete audit and be disbanded.

I would think a complete audit would lead to some surprising criminal charges.

Might even include that good man with the good intent.
Aug 23, 2010 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterSagebrush
Well, if Sage wants and audit then so do I.
Aug 23, 2010 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterZ
Hey Fractalist...

We're talking about transparency here...he already saved the system in your eyes...so let us find out exactly how he did it...since it was so awesome and everything, we should hear all the details...

Apologist much?
Aug 23, 2010 at 11:44 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Kindly read the Economic Fractalist. The elites have positioned the new chairman into his position. He is an academic. He's a South Carolinian from humble origins who seems to knows the Taoism: he is rich who knows he has enough. The elites are very simply bastards and idiots, They will stupidly never have enough. They have perverted the macroeconomy from supply and demand into making money by manipulating the money system. To ashes for them, forever. The 1788-9 American constitution is very worth continuation. It represents possible idealism. The first US economic fractal began with its constitution. Let us hope there is a transition to a third US economic fractal. Perhaps, perhaps the chairman is the intermediary for this transition.
Aug 24, 2010 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAmerica's Fractalist
"Let us hope there is a transition to a third US economic fractal. Perhaps, perhaps the chairman is the intermediary for this transition. "

If I am to follow a man (which is rarely), I prefer him to still have his balls attached. It is still fiat controlled by a lame "army" of eunichs serving other masters.

"They have perverted the macroeconomy from supply and demand into making money by manipulating the money system."

At least you see that, many still believe it is a accident. you can give up the worship though.
Aug 24, 2010 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterS. Gompers

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