Lawmakers are cheering a federal appeals court decision Friday compelling the Federal Reserve to disclose information about the financial bailout.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York on Friday ruled in favor of Bloomberg LP against the Federal Reserve System in a suit filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The suit has been a high-profile effort to obtain information from the Fed, which used broad powers to help stabilize the financial system during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
Trillions of dollars were extended to support financial institutions during the crisis, and lawmakers and other critics have sought more transparency from the central bank.
"The statute as written by Congress sets forth no basis for the exemption the Board asks us to read into it," wrote Dennis Jacobs, chief judge on the court, regarding FOIA. "If the board believes such an exemption would better serve the national interest, it should ask Congress to amend the statute."
The Fed said it is considering its options, including a possible appeal.
"We are reviewing the decision and are considering our options for reconsideration or appeal," said Barbara Hagenbaugh, spokeswoman for the Federal Reserve.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a vocal critic of the Fed, praised the court decision, calling it "a major victory for the American taxpayers."
"This money does not belong to the Federal Reserve. It belongs to the American people, and the American people have a right to know where more than $2 trillion of their money has gone."
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) also supported the court decision.
"Clearly, the Federal Reserve Board has no reasonable basis to continue to withhold this information," Dorgan wrote on Friday in a letter to the Fed.