Bernanke confirmation delayed; GOP senators demand Fed transparency on bailouts 

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke's confirmation vote by the Senate for a second four-year term has been delayed, pending receipt by the committee of documents concerning the Fed's role in the massive bailouts of the U.S. financial industry in 2008 during the economic meltdown.

Three Republican senators - all members of the Senate Banking Committee - are pushing for release of all documents concerning the Fed's role in the bailouts, especially that of the crippled insurance giant AIG before the confirmation vote is taken.

“This was the right decision to delay the vote on the Bernanke nomination, because the Fed continues to stonewall Congress and the public,” said Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC. "We cannot rush ahead with the Bernanke nomination while examinations by Congress and the GAO of the Fed’s AIG bailout are ongoing.

"Senators should not be put in a position to vote before they know the full story behind Chairman Bernanke’s role in the bailout and financial meltdown, what the Fed knew and when, and how severe the losses for the taxpayers will be. Chairman Bernanke and the Fed could speed this process up by opening up the Fed to a full audit,” DeMint said.

Similarly, Sen. David Vitter, R-LA, said the vote should be delayed until all requested documents have been provided by the Fed.

“As I Stressed to Chairman Dodd before the committee vote on Bernanke, it is vitally important that Congress has the ability and time to adequately review the Federal Reserve’s bailout of AIG,” said Vitter. “Although some of our offices have had time to review some of the documents, not all are available at this time and Congress should wait until GAO’s review before proceeding with his nomination vote.”

Sen. Jim Bunning, R-KY, commended Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, saying “the Senate should not rush ahead with the Bernanke nomination until the ongoing examinations by Congress and the GAO of the Fed’s AIG bailout are complete. Senators should not be put in a position to vote before they know the full story behind Chairman Bernanke’s role in the bailout, what the Fed knew and when, and how severe the losses for the taxpayers will be.

“These examinations are likely to reveal unpleasant facts for the Fed and Chairman Bernanke, and Senators should know this information before they have to vote. Of course, Chairman Bernanke and the Fed could speed this process up by making full public disclosure of all information about the AIG bailout, rather than limiting it to just select Congressional Committees and the GAO.”

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Mark Tapscott

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