The Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that the Federal Reserve must release information about emergency loans it made to banks at the onset of the financial crisis in 2008. The judicial decision rejects an appeal from the Clearing House Association LLC, a group of large banks that asked for the information to be kept confidential.
Bloomberg News initially used the Freedom of Information Act to request hundreds of pages of documents that provide insight into the Fed’s $3.5 trillion spending program. The Fed declined to the release the information, but a federal trial court, and later an appeals court, ruled that the Fed comply with the request. With urging from the Clearing House Association, and despite President Obama’s attempts at dissuasion, the Supreme Court took on the case.
While this is the first time that the Fed has been forced to release information about its 98-year discount window lending program, the decision is unlikely to set a precedent. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act passed last summer sets new parameters for when and how sensitive banking information is released.