In an effort to create “greater transparency,” the Federal Reserve Board announced on Monday that it would begin releasing unaudited financial reports on a quarterly basis instead of annually. The decision comes one week after Mitt Romney said the Federal Reserve should be audited.
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke has said that such an audit would create a “nightmare scenario” wherein politics would influence monetary policy.
But longtime Fed critic and former GOP presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) says a comprehensive auditing of the Fed is all about government accountability.
“It’s goodeconomics and it’s good legislation, but it’s also goodpolitics, because 80 percent of the American people agree withit,” says Paul.
Rep. Paul’s “Audit the Fed” bill passed the House on a bipartisan basis last month 327-98, but Sen. Harry Reid has said he will not consider the bill.
Whether the Fed’s new quarterly reporting protocol will be enough to stave off calls for a full audit remain to be seen. Indeed, on its website, the Federal Reserve notes that it is already subject to audits:
The Board of Governors, the Federal Reserve Banks, and the consolidatedLLCs are all subject to several levels of audit and review. The Reserve Banks’ financial statements and those of the consolidatedLLC entities are audited annually by an independent audit firm retainedby the Board of Governors.
Critics, however, contend that the current Fed audits are limited in scope and not comprehensive.
The Federal Reserve says it will continue to post future unaudited quarterly reports on its website.