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A bipartisan pair of senators opened a second front in the fight to bring transparency to the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, introducing an amendment to the Wall Street reform bill that would require the central bank to comply with two federal court orders requiring it to disclose how trillions in taxpayer dollars have been used.
The Fed has appealed both rulings.
The amendment, cosponsored by Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), is the second assault on the Fed. The first was launched by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is pushing an amendment that reflects audit language passed by the House.
With the White House strongly opposed to an audit of the Fed, three economists, including two who had previously worked on oversight of the Fed, pressed the administration to drop its "apocalyptic opposition" to the amendment. TheWall Street Journal reported earlier that the administration "would fight to stop it at all costs."
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), a cosponsor of the House measure, said that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's opposition represents a conflict of interest. "He was the head of the New York Fed for years and years. This audit would apply to him. And the actions he took -- which he can now take in secret and, when this bill passes, will no longer be secret -- we'll be able to see and understand the decisions that he made that, among other things, put huge amounts of bailout money into the hands of private interests," said Grayson on ABC's "Top Line" Tuesday. "It's one of the biggest conflicts of interest I've ever seen."