JW Files Two New FOIA Lawsuits against Treasury and Federal Reserve for Documents on Taxpayer Bailouts
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed two separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve in its continuing efforts to bring transparency to the federal government’s massive taxpayer bailouts.
Judicial Watch’s request filed with the Treasury Department on June 19, 2009, relates to a congressional briefing on the financial crisis held by former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on September 18, 2008, as they sought congressional approval for their financial bailout plan.
Judicial Watch specifically seeks access to the following documents: “Any and all records pertaining to the September 18, 2008 meeting about financially troubled banks. (Participants of this meeting included Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Charles Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Chris Dodd, and Richard Shelby. The meeting indicated that the economy may be in a meltdown and legislation needed to be drafted quickly.) Records should include, but are not limited to meeting notes, presentations, transcripts, agendas, correspondence, and supplemental material.”
The Treasury Department acknowledged receipt of Judicial Watch’s FOIA request on June 22, 2009, granting itself an additional ten day extension to process the request. A response was due on July 31. However, to date, the Treasury Department has not produced any documents, nor has Treasury indicated when documents are forthcoming.
With its FOIA request filed with the Federal Reserve on September 2, 2009, Judicial Watch is seeking access to any and all visitor logs for meetings with Chairman Bernanke and any and all visitor logs for meetings with Kevin Warsh from August 2007 to the present. (Warsh, who is not an economist by training, currently serves on the prestigious and powerful seven-member Federal Reserve Board of Governors and has been described by Bloomberg as part of the government’s “front-line crisis team” in dealing with the economic crisis.)
By letter dated September 3, 2009, the Federal Reserve acknowledged receipt of the request and granted itself an extension until October 16, 2009, to produce the records or demonstrate which records are exempt from production. To date, Judicial Watch has received no response.
“We are now more than a year and trillions of dollars into the government bailout and answers are in short supply. What was Congress told about the so-called financial crisis and who was lobbying the Fed for taxpayer cash? The taxpayers are paying for this bailout and they deserve to know the truth. Many Americans are growing tired of President Obama’s broken promises of transparency,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
Judicial Watch has filed at least 53 Freedom of Information requests related to government bailouts and filed at least five related Freedom of Information lawsuits against the Obama administration.