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Saturday, February 24, 2024
Courthouse News Service
Saturday, February 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Fed Must Disclose Lending Records, Circuit Rules

(CN) - The Federal Reserve Board must disclose the details of discount window loans and other emergency lending programs used to keep the nation's economy afloat during the 2007 financial crisis, the 2nd Circuit ruled.

In separate rulings tackling FOIA requests from Bloomberg and Fox News, the Manhattan-based appeals court said the board's records are not shielded by an exemption for "trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential."

The news organizations had asked for a list of the borrowing banks, the amount of the loans, the origination and maturity dates, and the collateral provided in the fall and spring of 2008. Federal Reserve Banks made short-term loans through the so-called "discount window" to banks that needed an emergency source of liquidity, according to the ruling.

The board claimed the records were exempt from disclosure and refused to search the lending records of its 12 Federal Reserve Banks, claiming those documents aren't considered "board records."

The 2nd Circuit upheld the district court's disclosure order in the Bloomberg case, but vacated a different judge's ruling for the Federal Reserve Board in Fox News' case.

The records don't fall under any FOIA exemptions, the court ruled, and the board must search at least some of the Federal Reserve Bank records.

"Board regulations provide that some records at the Federal Reserve Banks - those kept at the Federal Reserve Banks under certain conditions for 'administrative reasons' - are records of the Board; these must be searched," Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs wrote.

The court remanded Fox's FOIA request for the district court "to order further searches and to determine if the fruits of those searches must be disclosed."

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