This was one of our 10 Best Interviews from 2009:
In May, a cool and collected Congressman Alan Grayson questioned the Federal Reserve Inspector General about the trillions of dollars lent and spent by the Federal Reserve. Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman said she had no idea where the money went. Two months later, Congressman Grayson asked Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke the same questions. Here is the exact exchange:
Grayson: “So who got the money?”
Bernanke: “Financial institutions in Europe and other countries.”
Grayson: “Which ones?”
Bernanke: “I don’t know.”
Grayson: “Half a trillion dollars and you don’t know who got the money?”
As you can see, like Congressman Ron Paul, Congressman Grayson is one of the rare voices asking the most important questions on behalf of the US Taxpayers. Most importantly, Congressman Grayson understands the Fed’s secretive transfer of wealth from taxpayers to private interests as “The story of the millennium.”
If this sounds like the stuff of conspiracies, simply look at any chart of the US dollar and you can see it has lost over 95% of it’s value since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913.
I caught up with Congressman Grayson to better understand the problem with our Federal Reserve, the rising momentum for the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 (H.R. 1207), and how we can make the Fed more accountable to their four government delegated duties …
Damien Hoffman: Congressman Grayson, I recently penned an article called “Has the Federal Reserve Failed?” in which I looked at their four government delegated duties and concluded they simply have not done their job. What is your proposal to make the Federal Reserve more transparent and accountable?
Congressman Grayson: H.R. 1207 is one of the simplest bills imaginable. Unlike the healthcare bill which is over 1000 pages, H.R. 1207 is a page and a half. The bill lists the existing exclusion of the Federal Reserve from oversight by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and allows the GAO — an independent body — to audit the Federal Reserve Bank.
The Federal Reserve Bank has not had an independent audit since it was created almost 100 years ago, and it needs an audit. Many times we have exposed gross acts of irresponsibility on the part of the Federal Reserve. So, we need to dig in and get details.
Just a few weeks ago, while Chairman Bernanke was testifying to Congress, we examined the Fed balance sheet and P&L statement only to find what looked like the Fed handing over half a trillion dollars to foreigners. This was very surprising! When I asked Chairman Bernanke if this was true, he said, “Yes.” When I asked him who got the money, he said, “Fourteen foreign Central Banks.” And when I asked to who did they give the money, he said, “I don’t know.” “I don’t know” is not good enough when you’re talking about $500 billion. That’s $1700 for every man, woman, and child in this country.
Damien: What is the status of the bill?
Congressman Grayson: I am very sure the bill will pass — possibly by the end of September, but more likely by the end of October.
Damien: Congressman, what do you say to the primary criticism that auditing the Fed’s book is like exposing confidential information which can lead to harm?
Congressman Grayson: The Fed made that exact same argument in court and recently lost across the board in the case of Bloomberg LP v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System [U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan), No. 08-9595.]. The judge looked at the facts and noted that shining a spotlight on what the Federal Reserve’s actions will only be a good thing. So, that argument has been demolished based on the evidence.
Damien: Congressman, while we are waiting for a Fed audit, does anyone know what the Fed has been doing given that they have not fulfilled their government delegated duties as listed on the Federal Reserve website?
Congressman Grayson: They are performing a truly remarkable, surreptitious transfer of wealth from public to private hands. They are taking their ability to print money and shore up failed banks. They are simply stuffing money into the pockets of private interests.
In the case of the half a trillion dollars, they stuffed the money into foreign private pockets. In the case of another $230 billion, it has been tracked as a secret bailout to Citicorp in the US. The fact is the Federal Reserve continuously puts all of us on the hook for decisions they make to play favorites with private interests to the tune of trillions of dollars.
Damien: Congressman, what do you say to those who call your allegations a conspiracy theory?
Congressman Grayson: Something I found very intriguing was the Semi-Annual Report from the Federal Reserve to the Congress. That’s a mother-load of secrets if you read it very carefully and ask the right questions.
Since it looks like the Federal Reserve may soon be subject to the Freedom of Information Act, that opens many opportunities for the public to see the facts.
These are not conspiracies. The Federal Reserve’s own website has some incredibly interesting information about the general state of the US economy and the distribution of wealth in our country. I was recently reading our national wealth capped out at $62 trillion two-years ago has crashed to $50 trillion since. Those are Federal Reserve statistics on their website.
Damien: Congressman, I know you have another interview in a moment, so thanks for your time. I would love to follow up with you on this story sometime soon.
Congressman Grayson: Super. This is the story of the millennium. There are very few stories you can ever write about where the numbers involved have 13 digits in them. I look forward to staying in touch.