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Fed's Fisher Changed His Vote On Crisis Interest Rates Over Lunch

Traders work in the ten-year U.S. Treasury Note options pit at the Chicago Board of Trade in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Traders work in the ten-year U.S. Treasury Note options pit at the Chicago Board of Trade in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher initially provided the only "No" vote on a motion before the Federal Open Market Committee at the height of the financial crisis—only to reverse his vote after an unrecorded lunch break, according to a heavily redactedtranscript of Fed documents released Monday afternoon.

The vote took place during the first day of a two-day meeting of the FOMC on December 15 and 16. The subject of the vote is not revealed by the minutes released by the Fed. A large passage of the discussion prior to the vote is redacted.

The next day, however, the Fed announced a target range for the federal funds rate of 0 to 0.25 percent.

Immediately following the mystery vote, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke requested a break for lunch.

Upon returning from lunch, Bernanke announced that Fisher had changed his mind.

“On consideration, in order to maintain a united front with the Committee, President Fisher changed his vote to vote ‘yes’ on the resolution,” Bernanke said, according to the transcript.

The lunch time discussions were not recorded, so it is not clear what discussions prompted Fisher to change his mind to support a “united front.”

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