Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) suggested Friday that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner opposes an audit of the Federal Reserve bank because he would be personally damaged by a probe.
Grayson -- who co-sponsored an amendment to the House's financial reform bill to force a full audit of the central bank -- said that Geithner may have something to hide from his time as chairman of the New York Fed.
The amendment has picked up steam in the Senate, where it has attracted more than a handful of co-sponsors.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have supported the measure, but the White House and the Fed oppose it, saying that opening up the Fed's monetary policy making decisions could severely harm the economy by injecting political factors.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) already audits much of the Fed's activity not related to its monetary policy, but lawmakers want to expand the audit to that area.
Proponents of the measure say that it would bring more transparency to the institutions, which played large part in the largely unpopular financial bailouts of 2008.
But Grayson, who is known for his tough broadsides against opponents, indicated Geithner may have had a role in enacting "secret bailouts and loan guarantees" to large corporations, while New York Fed chairman during the Bush administration.
"It's one of the biggest conflict of interests I have ever seen," he said.
Officials say that Geithner has cooperated fully with all inquiries reviewing actions taken at the Federal Reserve, citing his 33 times testifying before Congress, and supports a transparent Fed.
Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams said of Grayson's comments "This is absolutely ridiculous."
This post was updated at 2:17 p.m.