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Currency swap questions: Pressing the Fed

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Sunday, July 29, 2012, 8:50 p.m.

Once again, Judicial Watch is suing to shed light on President Barack Obama's self-proclaimed most transparent administration in history — this time, over Federal Reserve use of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to bail out European banks.

In a “currency swap” program that began in December 2007, expired in February 2010, resumed in May 2010 and was extended last November through Feb. 1, 2013, European central banks auction Fed-lent dollars to commercial banks.

A Bloomberg report sums up the program's opacity:

“(T)he Fed doesn't track where the dollars ultimately end up, and European officials don't share borrowers' identities outside the continent.”

Yet last December, when such loans skyrocketed from $400 million to $95 billion after the extension, Fed “Chairman Ben Bernanke reportedly told Republican senators that he did not have the intention or authority to use taxpayer dollars to bail out troubled European banks,” Judicial Watch says.

Its Freedom of Information Act request regarding the “currency swap” program having gone ignored, the group's lawsuit seeks relevant communications among several arms of the Fed and the European Central Bank, Fed justification for the extension and transaction details including the banks involved.

Kudos to Judicial Watch for pressing this president's Fed to be as transparent as he dubiously claims his administration is.

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