Bob Goodlatte: Audit the Fed?

bob-goodlatte-afp2A key part of good government is accountability to the taxpayers. We have seen in the recent IRS targeting scandal just what can happen when government officials and agencies are not held accountable. The Federal Reserve, or Fed, should not be excluded from this accountability. The federal reserve is the central bank of the United States and has a unique role in our financial system. The monetary policy decisions of the federal reserve affect every American. However, it has been subject to very little federal scrutiny since its creation by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

In recent years, I have heard from many folks around the Sixth District about the need for greater accountability of the federal reserve. There are many concerns about the Federal Reserve’s transparency and large loans facilitated during the financial crisis. In light of this, the Federal Reserve’s funding facilities and relationship with the Department of the Treasury deserve careful evaluation, as does its relationship with foreign entities. You have a right to know how the government spends and leverages your taxpayer dollars.

It is fundamental that we provide stronger oversight of the federal reserve. On September 17, the House of Representatives passed, with my strong support, H.R. 24, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act. This legislation, which I cosponsored, would shine light on the federal reserve System by requiring the Government Accountability Office to complete an audit of the federal reserve Board and the federal reserve Banks and to submit to Congress a detailed report of audit findings and conclusions. This audit must be completed within one year and submitted to Congress no more than 90 days after completion.

A rasmussen reports survey from November 2013 found that 74 percent of adult Americans favor auditing the Fed and making the results available to the public. The House’s bipartisan vote of 333-92 in support of the Federal Reserve Transparency Act makes it clear that there is broad support for auditing the federal reserve in Congress. But before we can audit the Fed, there is still a roadblock standing in the way – the U.S. Senate.

The House has acted to bring true transparency to our nation’s monetary policy. Now the question remains, will the Senate stop stalling and join the House in holding the federal reserve accountable to the American people?

Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth District in Congress.

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