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Today the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System released transcripts of eight scheduled meetings and six emergency sessions of its Federal Open Market Committee during the 2008 financial crisis. (The Fed delays release of such transcripts for five years.)
- FOMC: Transcripts and Other Historical Materials, 2008, Federal Open Market Committee.
- A Chronicle of Uncertainty, Then Bold Action, in 2008 Fed Transcripts, By Binyamin Appelbaum, New York Times (Feb. 21, 2014).
The transcripts show that the Fed’s initial response to the crisis was constrained by a lack of understanding about the depth of the problems, and a deeply ingrained bias to worry more about the risk of inflation than the reality of rising unemployment. But it also shows that Fed officials responded decisively once the crisis was upon them, perhaps preventing an even deeper recession.
It is not always clear to me if reports like this are centrally listed or cataloged anywhere and when or if or where they will end up in FDsys. This report is massive and important and seems worth listing here with links that may or may not last.
U.S. Senate. Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
- PSI Financial Crisis Report, “Senate Investigations Subcommittee Releases Levin-Coburn Report On the Financial Crisis” Press Release, (April 13, 2011) [PSIfinancialreportrelease041311.pdf] (PDF 86.2 KBs). (Another copy in HTML available at Committee Chairman Carl Levin’s website.
Using their own words in documents subpoenaed by the Subcommittee, the report discloses how financial firms deliberately took advantage of their clients and investors, how credit rating agencies assigned AAA ratings to high risk securities, and how regulators sat on their hands instead of reining in the unsafe and unsound practices all around them. Rampant conflicts of interest are the threads that run through every chapter of this sordid story.
- Wall Street And The Financial Crisis: Anatomy Of A Financial Collapse, Majority And Minority Staff Report (April 13, 2011) (PDF 5.7 MBs, 646pp). Another copy at Committee Chairman Carl Levin’s website.
- Footnote Exhibit Locator (by FN and Bates)
- FN 107 – 1342 (pgs 1-1037)
- FN 1343 – 1459 (pgs 1038-2164)
- FN 1462 – 1576 (pgs 2165-3003)
- FN 1584 – 1622 (pgs 3004-3448)
- FN 1623 – 2406 (pgs 3449-4484)
- FN 2409 – 2706 (pgs 4485-5459)
- FN 2724 – 2831 (pgs 5460-5901)
The People vs. Goldman Sachs, By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, (May 26, 2011 issue)
Bloomberg has obtained previously secret loan documents from the Federal Reserve Bank and has made those documents available for download (see zip file link below).
- Fed Will Release Bank Loan Data as Top Court Rejects Appeal, By Greg Stohr and Bob Ivry, Bloomberg (Mar 21, 2011).
The order marks the first time a court has forced the Fed to reveal the names of banks that borrowed from its oldest lending program, the 98-year-old discount window. The disclosures, together with details of six bailout programs released by the central bank in December under a congressional mandate, would give taxpayers insight into the Fed’s unprecedented $3.5 trillion effort to stem the 2008 financial panic.
- Fed Releases Discount-Window Loan Records During Crisis Under Court Order, By Craig Torres, Bloomberg (Mar 31, 2011).
The Federal Reserve released thousands of pages of secret loan documents under court order, almost three years after Bloomberg LP first requested details of the central bank’s unprecedented support to banks during the financial crisis.
- Foreign Banks Tapped Fed’s Secret Lifeline Most at Crisis Peak, By Bradley Keoun and Craig Torres, Bloomberg (Apr 1, 2011).
Bloomberg News is posting the Fed documents here for subscribers to the Bloomberg Professional Service as well as online at www.bloomberg.com.
- zip file [135 MB, unzips to 175 MB and 894 PDF files].
Stories based on the document release are beginning to appear in the press. Here is one from the Sunday New York Times:
- The Bank Run We Knew So Little About, By GRETCHEN MORGENSON, New York Times (April 2, 2011)
The final report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was released on Thursday. Or as Frank Portnoy, in a NYT opinion piece today described it, three reports: “a 410-page volume signed by the commission’s six Democrats, a leaner 10-pronged dissent from three of the four Republicans, and a nearly 100-page dissent-from-the-dissent filed by Peter J. Wallison, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.”
GPO has quickly created a purl for the report (http://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo3449) which is linked to from the commission’s Web site (and already available from Marcive and embedded in my library’s catalog record). But what’s more interesting is that the main link to the commission report — http://c0182732.cdn1.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/fcic_final_report_full.pdf — is actually hosted on RackSpace, a cloud Web services company. It’s interesting not only because the commission decided to publish their report with a private company — and one not even listed at the GSA’s apps.gov portal for .gov contracting of cloud services — but that they couldn’t even spoof the url so it *looked* like it was coming from a .gov server.
This brings into question whether the commission’s report is in the public domain as it is actually hosted on a non-.gov server. I’ve collected it with the Stanford library’s EEMs tool (here’s a project briefing from fall 2010 CNI meeting brief about Everyday Electronic Materials (EEMs)). But part of the EEMs process is a workflow for managing copyright issues. I’m assuming it IS in the public domain as the work of an official US govt organ, but how would Stanford University’s general counsel (or IP lawyers in general) read this? This will no doubt be a growing and ongoing concern.