This is a follow up of the three following posts:
- Bloomberg Sued the Fed Reserve
- Fed Refuses to Disclose Recipients of $2 Trillion
- Fox Business sues Fed
The Fed refused yesterday to disclose the names of the borrowers and the loans, alleging that it would cast “a stigma” on recipients of more than $1.9 trillion of emergency credit from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.Mish: In plain English: Bernanke Lied.
Bloomberg sued Nov. 7 under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act requesting details about the terms of 11 Fed lending programs.
On Oct. 25, Bloomberg filed another request, expanding the range of when the collateral was posted. It sued Nov. 7.
In response to Bloomberg’s request, the Fed said the U.S. is facing “an unprecedented crisis” in which “loss in confidence in and between financial institutions can occur with lightning speed and devastating effects.”
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would meet congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system.
Pressure to reveal major AIG counterparties grows
Calls increased Tuesday to reveal the financial institutions that got almost $40 billion in collateral from American International Group shortly after the government first bailed out the insurer last year.Mish:
AIG almost collapsed in September after ratings agency downgrades triggered demands for billions of dollars in extra collateral from firms that had bought derivative-based protection from the insurer on complex mortgage-related products known as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs.
AIG didn't have that much money and faced bankruptcy. But it was saved by an $85 billion emergency loan facility from the Federal Reserve.
By Nov. 5, the insurer had paid out $37.3 billion of that money to counterparties who had purchased a certain type of derivative-based protection from AIG called multi-sector credit-default swaps, according to the company's third-quarter regulatory filing.
"AIG has given the counterparties $20 billion. Those people could be just about anybody in the world. Why won't the Fed disclose who those are?" Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke during congressional testimony on Tuesday.
Bernanke said the counterparties made "legal, legitimate, financial transactions" with AIG and presumed at the time that the contracts would remain private. "That is a consideration we have to take into account," he added.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., suggested that AIG's counterparties should have to take a "haircut," rather than be made whole, because some of them probably didn't do enough due diligence on whether the insurer was financially strong enough to be selling such protection.
"In effect, what we're saying is, consequently, folks who bought these instruments and that, at some point in their process, should have been doing some level of credit analysis of what AIG was selling who didn't do that credit analysis are going to still come out whole for their lack of appropriate due diligence or responsible behavior," he said.
"I'm as unhappy as you are about that, senator," Bernanke replied. "I just don't know what to do about it."
There are many problems with the handling of AIG but it all starts with the initial decision to do something as opposed to nothing. Government has no business bailing out anyone and the decision is made all the more galling by making everything a secret.
Note that the Fed is picking winners and losers. There are other creditors of AIG who might have a better claim on its assets than who the Fed is picking. Remember that the Fed promised transparency. Instead, we have gotten noting but lies and secrecy from Bernanke, Paulson, and Geithner every step of the way.
Words cannot begin to express my disgust of the lies and secret shenanigans of the Fed and Treasury.