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Bill aims to shed light on 'shadowy' board of regulators

Bill aims to shed light on 'shadowy' board of regulators

Rep. Scott GarrettErnest (Scott) Scott GarrettOn The Trail: The political losers of 2020 Biz groups take victory lap on Ex-Im Bank Export-Import Bank back to full strength after Senate confirmations MORE (R-N.J.) reintroduced legislation on Friday aimed at increasing transparency of an interagency board of federal financial regulators.

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Garrett, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said the legislation is needed to allow the public to see how the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) makes its decisions.

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Law created the FSOC, which regulates risk for the financial markets and is made up of the nine heads of the financial regulatory agencies.

Republicans and the business community have chided the agency as reckless and non-transparent and as a rogue regulator with little oversight.

“The Council continues to hold closed-door meetings, refuses to publish substantive transcripts, and stonewalls requests from the people’s representatives when we need more information about its operations," said Garrett, who chairs the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, in a statement.

He said that "no agency should be allowed to operate above the law in this way, and my bill will shed some much-needed light on this shadowy government body.”

Democrats and other critics of the bill argue that the legislation would politicize what was meant to be an independent body.

Garrett's bill would increase the number of representatives at the meetings, allowing for the participation of all members of the regulators' boards and commissions to attend — not just the heads.

It would also require that the agencies' respective boards and commissions vote on how each regulator would cast a ballot on FSOC decisions.

The bill also allows for lawmakers in the House and Senate FSOC oversight committees to attend the meetings.

Garrett said that changes are needed to tackle the FSOC's "unprecedented authority over an entire sector of the U.S. economy without adequate checks and balances."

“[FSOC] is one of the most notorious examples of the kind of secretive and unaccountable government bodies that could only be a creation of Washington, D.C.," Garrett said.