Final Count: Pittman Wins, Fed Loses, As Supreme Court Refuses To Grant Confidential Data Disclosure Appeal Sought By Banks

Tyler Durden's picture

In a crushing blow against the Fed and the banks that own it, in this case represented by the Clearing House Association, the Supreme Court rejected an industry appeal set forth by the CHA, that sought to keep critical bailout data from going public. The lawsuit was originally started by the great and late Mark Pittman, who tragically passed away around Thanksgiving 2009: we are confident we would be delighted to learn that his unprecedented act of suing the Fed in order to generate more transparency has finally succeeded.

From Bloomberg:

The justices today left intact a court order that gives the Fed five days to release the records, sought by Bloomberg News’s parent company, Bloomberg LP. The Clearing House Association LLC, a group of the nation’s largest commercial banks, had asked the Supreme Court to intervene.
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.

“I can’t recall that the Fed was ever sued and forced to release information” in its 98-year history, said Allan H. Meltzer, the author of three books on the U.S central bank and a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Under the trial judge’s order, the Fed must reveal 231 pages of documents related to borrowers in April and May 2008, along with loan amounts. News Corp.’s Fox News is pressing a bid for 6,186 pages of similar information on loans made from August 2007 to November 2008.
The records were originally requested under FOIA, which allows citizens access to government papers, by the late Bloomberg News reporter Mark Pittman.
As a financial crisis developed in 2007, “The Federal Reserve forgot that it is the central bank for the people of the United States and not a private academy where decisions of great importance may be withheld from public scrutiny,” said Matthew Winkler, editor in chief of Bloomberg News. “The Fed must be accountable to Congress, especially in disclosing what it does with the people’s money.”
The Clearing House Association contended that Bloomberg was seeking an unprecedented disclosure that might dissuade banks from accepting emergency loans in the future.
“Disclosure of this information threatens to harm the borrowing banks by allowing the public to observe their borrowing patterns during the recent financial crisis and draw inferences -- whether justified or not -- about their current financial conditions,” the group said in its appeal.

Bloomberg News editor in chief released the following statement following the Supreme Court disclousre:

Statement by Bloomberg News Editor in Chief Matthew Winkler:
"At some point long before the credit markets seized up in 2007, financial markets collapsed and the economy plunged into the worst recession since the 1930s, the Federal Reserve forgot that it is the central bank for the people of the United States and not a private academy where decisions of great importance may be withheld from public scrutiny. As only Congress has the constitutional power to coin money, Congress delegates that power to the Fed and the Fed must be accountable to Congress, especially in disclosing what it does with the people's money."

And while this is a stark example that promises of Mutual Assured Destruction if the Fed and its superiors on Wall Street do not get their way are nothing but hollow threats, the bigger issue here is that the Supreme Court indeed did not grant an appeal. This simply means that banks have gotten so reliant on excess reserves and not having to worry about discount window borrowings that any change from the equilibrium, read an end to QE2 or, heaven forbid, a reversal (where the Fed proceeds to sell securities on its balance sheet), would lead to true untold destruction within the banker community once the Discount Window route is required again.

Nonetheless, today's development a huge success for all those who believe that the most dangerous and thoroughly unsupervised organization of central planners in the world is not immune from justice. We can only hope that the "Pittman precedent" forces millions more to send in FOIA requests for any and every aspect of Fed operations, forcing the US politburo to eventually brings its decision making process in the open, as much as Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein detest that.



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ReallySparky's picture

Yipee!  The news will be rich after the release of these documents.

unwashedmass's picture


what the hell happened? didn't the Supremes get the memos?

good god, someone tell them that the banks are supposed to be allowed to drain the country's assets without ....I REPEAT...without any trouble from the peasants....


someone get over there and slap them upside the head!



Abitdodgie's picture

Don't worry all transactions that took place in April and May  that could raise questions have been moved to March 31 and June 1st 

What does it all mean's picture

Right, and we are already past the 7th inning of the financial crisis.  I think it is a new world series, actually!

clymer's picture

Congress to FED: "Show us who got the money"

FED: "no"

SCOTUS to FED: "Show them who got the money"

FED: "no"

Boilermaker's picture

They won't even bother dignifying the demand with a response.  When you're at the top of the food chain, you aren't beholden to anybody.

dogismyth's picture

BFD!!!  This ruling means nothing in the near term.  This is not the circle jerk you are looking for...

The legislation didn’t apply retroactively to the discount window lending program, which provides short-term funding to financial institutions. Discount window loans made after July 21, 2010, must be released following a two-year lag.

zaphod's picture

Forget the discount window stuff, I already know all the big banks got tons of money.


I want to see the gold left, and all gold lease obligations and swaps. I want to see a true picture of what the good money situation is.....

dogismyth's picture

c'mon  You realize that bloomberg is a member of the insider joo-circle.  Think good cop bad cop.  THis is their way of defusing the issue.  Not sure what their game plan is but to trust Bloomberg...your freaking nutzo.  Don't trust any of them...especially Bloomberg.  You guys really have to quit reacting to the news and attempt to decipher their hidden objectives.

asteroids's picture

I can see Hitler in his bunker planning out the next strategy steps for the FED.

Id fight Gandhi's picture


It really must be coming to the end of the world.

anonnn's picture

The Supreme Court, without comment, on Monday refused to consider the group's appeal.

[So there was no vote.]

[per WSJ online]

Doña K's picture

Is the supreme court the ultimate salvation?

truont's picture

...until the Banksters figure out that they need to bribe the third branch of government too...

Hey, Blankfein!  There are THREE branches of government in the USA.

Looks like you missed one...

Oh regional Indian's picture

I thought the "Supremes" had shown their rottn hand with the Bush selection.

Do they have any credibility left? At all?


Aghast in Midlothian's picture

ORI,'re better than that.

Doña K's picture

I was kind of shocked when the supreme court voted that corporate contributions were protected under free speech.

If there is money involved is not free. Is it guys?

TruthInSunshine's picture

Out of curiosity, does anyone know how Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito voted in this decision?

ZeroHedge, could you break down the tally by each SCOTUS Justice?

nmewn's picture

"Hey, Blankfein!  There are THREE branches of government in the USA."

And according to one of his paid lackeys, Senator Chuckie (Hey Let's Expand the Price Cap on Mortgages Covered by Fannie) Schumer, they are;

The House, the Senate and the President?!?...what a friggin doofus.

lunaticfringe's picture

3?? Shit...

The hierarchy goes like this. The unelected FED and the subordinate branches of elected officials in the E, J, and L branches. These are the branches that create the illusion that the "people" whoever the fuck that is, have some say in how this place runs. They don't. The FED runs this mf'er.

SheepDog-One's picture

Awesome. Whenever I hear 'Pelosi' I remember than scene of her marching around with that giant theatrical gavel hammer after they illegally rammed thru that Deathcare monstrosity. I hope shes got the worst intestinal parasites known to the world.

Sophist Economicus's picture

There you are!    Haven't seen you posting for a while, was worried some coyote got ya

living on the edge's picture

Perhaps she senses the end is near for her ruling elites.

Larry Darrell's picture

I just want to know if she is in one of these now oh so common "comas"

pslater's picture

She's been in a liberal/progressive coma all her adult life.  It's staggering the amount of damage you can do while in a coma....

weinerdog43's picture

Exactly.  Ask any Republic.  They've been brain dead for years.

DeadFred's picture

Don't be so cruel to intestinal parasites.

Confucious 222's picture

Yes, a few thousand colonies of assorted flagellum, paramecium, prions, and protozoans, requiring a regimen of barium enemas and cesium 137 douches is all we ask.

One is, what one eats; Madame Squeaker (ret.)?

So Close's picture

Because I too always immediately check myself in when I feel "slightly unwell."

Sophist Economicus's picture

Ahhh, you must have one of those Government health plans too...  ;)

ebworthen's picture


No copay, no deductible.

DeadFred's picture

Not to worry. Reptilians just need more frequent upkeep on their host bodies, just check out Cheney.

Ying-Yang's picture

Nothing to see here...... she checked in for her 30,000 mile warranty on her facelift.


firstdivision's picture

Didn't the Fed already release all the data requested, hence the Fed data dump about 6 months ago?

Spitzer's picture

That is what I thought....

I remember Harley Davidson, Mcdonalds and Bank of Montreal where some of the names.

so whats this about ?

Ying-Yang's picture

Nope it is more about the Central Banks and other black accounts that received help which are not directly in the best interest of the US taxpayer...

How do you say taxpayer help to the BOC?

goodrich4bk's picture

I believe that was the documentation of TARP recipients.  This is a list of other-than-Discount Window recipients (I believe DW recipients are already disclosed as a matter of course).  This is a big deal because it means that the Fed must report all back-door bailouts, not just the one that Congress affirmatively authorized.

firstdivision's picture

Thanks for that reply, it is very informative as to why this was quite important. 

Josh Randall's picture

Another brick knocked out of the wall

Yen Cross's picture

Brisbane first. The Quake in the North Island .

slewie the pi-rat's picture

i know you have friends there, YC.  so, good luck to everybody, there, from me, too.

looks like pittman scores!  ghost to the post!  hard to believe that the "legal" argumentz of:  it's a secret! and if we tell, confidence will plummet! both failed, tho, doncha think?

barry bonds' trial starts today;  jury selection.  guys on the radio just reported a twitter from the courthouse:  bonds looks much smaller than he was when he was playing...

TruthInSunshine's picture

It's a start.

But that's all it is.

I want to know when there's going to be a legal challenge to the Federal Reserve's action of monetizing U.S. deficit spending (they're now buying 80% of all treasuries) as the Federal Reserve, via mouthpiece and ChairBeast The Bernank claims they can do an end run around the law so long as they buy Treasuries in the secondary market, from their very much favored Primary Dealers/Too-Big-To-Failures.

Dr. Porkchop's picture

The sheild turns the fast blow, admits the slow kindjal!

Triggernometry's picture

Slow pellet stunners do the trick too...

Ivanovich's picture

So when are the documents to be released?  5 days?

gordengeko's picture

Small dent in the red shield.

SheepDog-One's picture

WOO HOO! Yea Fuk you FED! Fuk you Wall St bankstas!