Monday, April 23, 2012

Audit the Fed: A Timeline

[Compiled for a class presentation, I felt like it was worth sharing online.]

1981: Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) introduces his first legislation to abolish the Federal Reserve. The bill receives 44 cosponsors and never escapes committee.

March 12th, 2007: Paul officially enters the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. During the campaign, which lasted into June 2008, Paul would often discuss monetary policy and the role of the Federal Reserve in the nation’s economy.

February 26th, 2009: Paul introduces HR 1207, legislation to provide for and enlarge the scope of regular audits of the Federal Reserve. 11 congressmen co-sponsor the legislation.

February 27th, 2009: Paul promotes the bill before CPAC, the annual gathering of conservative activists in Washington DC.

March 16th, 2009: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduces S 604, the companion bill to HR 1207 in the Senate. The first cosponsor of the bill signs on in June: Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC).

June 11th, 2009: Rep. Dennis Kucinich becomes the 218th member of Congress to cosponsor HR 1207; with 218 cosponsors, the measure has enough support to pass with a majority vote in the House of Representatives.

June 26th, 2009
: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke opposes HR 1207 in committee testimony.

August 28th, 2009: After initial opposition, House Financial Services Chair Barney Frank (D-MA) reverses his position on Audit the Fed. A constituent questions Frank on HR 1207 at a town-hall meeting in his home district. “I have been working with Ron Paul, who’s the main sponsor of that bill,” Frank said. “That will be part of the other federal regulations we are adopting. The House will pass it probably in October.” As Chairman, Frank controls the committee agenda.

September 16th, 2009: Paul releases a new book entitled End the Fed.
October 20th, 2009: Rep. Mel Watts (D-NC) amends HR 1207 to strip provisions exempting the Federal Reserve from audits of its transactions with foreign central banks, monetary policy deliberations, transactions made under the FOMC, and communications between the Board of Governors, regional branches and staff.

November 18th, 2009: A number of liberal economists and labor leaders endorse HR 1207, including Dean Baker, James K Galbraith, Andrew Stern (President of SEIU), and Richard Trumka (President of AFL-CIO).

November 19th, 2009: HR 1207 is approved as an amendment to the larger Dodd-Frank financial reform package. Paul and a key ally, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), successfully push for Watts’ language to be replaced with the initial language introduced by Paul. Frank again opposes the Paul amendment after Watts’ language is stripped.

December 11th, 2009: The Dodd-Frank bill is passed by the full House of Representatives on a largely party-line vote, with Democrats in support and Republicans opposed. HR 1207 is included in this package.

December 12th, 2009: A Rasmussen poll finds 79% of Americans support auditing the Federal Reserve. This poll will be incorporated into the talking points of supporters of Audit the Fed.

December 9th, 2010
: Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) announces that Rep. Paul will be named Chairman of the Monetary Policy Subcommittee in the United States House of Representatives.

April 30th, 2010: White House officials indicate they will fight to oppose S 604’s addition to the larger financial regulation bill.

May 6th, 2010: Senators Bernie Sanders and Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) strike a deal to ensure passage of Audit the Fed in the Senate, providing for a one-time audit of the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending during the economic crisis. The Obama administration throws its support behind Audit the Fed after the Sanders amendment passes.

May 11th, 2010: S 604 passes the Senate 96-0 as amended by Sanders. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduces an amendment to restore the Paul-Grayson language to the Senate version of the bill, but it fails 37-62.

May 20th, 2010: The Senate passes its version of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill. The bill is modified in conference committee, but no changes are made to the Audit the Fed provisions.

July 21st, 2010: President Obama signs the Dodd-Frank bill into law.

July 21st, 2011: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) releases its report on the audit mandated by the Dodd-Frank bill. The report reveals over $16 trillion was distributed during the economic crisis to foreign central banks and large financial institutions to prevent further economic instability.

April 27th, 2011:
The Federal Reserve holds its first-ever press conference.

May 13th, 2011: Paul announces his bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. He remains in the race, although former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is the likely nominee.

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