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An effort to conduct an unconventional audit of the Federal Reserve is gaining traction in Washington and on its way to a potentially important milestone this week.
The Federal Reserve Transparency Act will undergo the markup process this week in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. A product of the "Audit the Fed" movement, the bill seeks not a financial exam of the U.S. central bank but rather a peek behind the curtain of how monetary decision-making happens. The markup comes after several failed efforts to move the legislation ahead, and supporters believe there now is enough backing in Congress to go forward.
The Fed's policymaking arm, the Federal Open Market Committee, does not meet in public and only communicates its decisions through carefully worded statements at the end of its meetings and through officials' remarks at speaking engagements and through the press.
Former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas has been the leading voice behind the Fed auditing effort; his son, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, has been spearheading the bill in Congress. The Campaign for Liberty, which Ron Paul chairs, believes this week's legislative effort marks a significant step.
"Given the tenor of what people seem to be signaling from the campaign trail in both parties, it's not necessarily seen as a good year to be siding with the Federal Reserve, the big banks and international financial institutions against the majority of Americans," Norman Singleton, president of the Campaign for Liberty, said in an interview. "The best possible outcome is for a more fully informed public about Fed monetary policy."