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Senate Votes 96-0 For One Time Audit Of Federal Reserve

The Baffling Concept of a One-Time Audit

Tim Shoemaker
Campaign For Liberty
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein (who has not come out either for, or against, an audit of the Fed) raises the same question many of us at Campaign for Liberty had when looking at the Sanders amendment…

The amended version of Audit the Fed passed the Senate 96 to 0 today. A version that was closer to the original — that is to say, it would’ve created a regular audit rather than a one-time audit — lost, 37 to 62. I’m a bit confused by a world in which 96 senators think we need to know what the Fed did in 2008 and 2009 but only 37 think we’ll need to know what the Fed did in 2012 and 2013.

What the Sanders amendment really called for was a mere one-time disclosure of some emergency lending powers used by the Federal Reserve during the most recent fiscal crisis, not an audit.

While this disclosure may be good and a small step in the right direction, it does not go far enough in ensuring a proper check on the use of power by the Federal Reserve.

As Klein points out in his title, “Take the easy vote,” the Sanders amendment provided a cop out to allow senators to return home claiming they supported transparency at the Federal Reserve.

The simple fact that only 37 senators supported a regular audit shows that transparency was not at all on the minds of the 62 others.  There is no such thing as a “one-time audit.”  It does not exist.  Has anyone ever seen the IRS limit its audits of corporations and private individuals to a one-time only examination of a specific period of time?  I know I haven’t.

What happens in the event of the next fiscal crisis?  What if the Federal Reserve once again uses its power in a questionable manner?  Are we to go through this nearly year and a half long legislative process to once again pass an audit of the Fed?  No.  Absolutely not.  If the government really supports transparency at the Federal Reserve, the only prudent action to take would be to make a regular audit of the Federal Reserve system the law of the land.

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