The Obama administration and Fed officials have said they “would fight to stop it at all costs” an amendment to the financial reform bill sponsored by Bernie Sanders that would require an audit of the Federal Reserve. However, economists, labor organizers, bloggers and other progressive leaders have signed on to a letter of support for the Sanders amendment, which is cosponsored by Russ Feingold, Jim DeMint, Ron Wyden, Chuck Grassley, and other Senators from both sides of the aisle (PDF):

Majority Leader Harry Reid
U.S. Capitol S-221
Washington, DC 20510
Majority Whip Richard Durbin
U.S. Capitol S-321
Washington, DC 20510
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
U.S. Capitol S-231
Washington, DC 20510
Minority Whip Jon Kyl
U.S. Capitol S-208
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senators Reid, Durbin, McConnell and Kyl:

Since the start of the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has dramatically changed its operating procedures. Instead of simply setting interest rates to influence macroeconomic conditions, it rapidly acquired a wide variety of private assets and extended massive secret bailouts to major financial institutions.

There are still many questions about the Fed’s behavior in these new activities. The Federal Reserve balance sheet expanded to more than $2 trillion, along with implied and explicit backstops to Wall Street firms that could cost even more. Who received the money? Against what collateral? On what terms and conditions? The only way to find out is through a complete audit of the Federal Reserve.

That’s why we support the Sanders-Feingold-DeMint-Leahy-McCain-Grassley-Vitter-Brownback amendment to increase transparency at the Fed. This amendment is similar to an amendment that was offered to last year’s Budget Resolution that passedthe Senate on a bi-partisan vote of 59-39 on April 1, 2009; S.604, the Federal Reserve Sunshine Act that now has 33 bi-partisan co-sponsors; and the Federal Reserve Transparency Act (H.R. 1207) that has 320 bi-partisan co-sponsors (a version of which passed the House Financial Services Committee by a vote of 43-28 and was incorporated into the financial reform bill that passed the House last December).

While the Senate financial reform bill attempts to address the lack of transparency at the Fed, as currently drafted, much of the information regarding the details of who received this financial assistance could be kept secret forever. We urge you to support the Federal Reserve Transparency amendment to the financial reform bill.

Sincerely,

Eileen Appelbaum, Professor and Director of the Center for Women and Work, Rutgers University
Dean Baker, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research
William Black, Associate Professor of Economics and Law, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Tyler Durden, Founder, Zero Hedge
Gerald Epstein, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Thomas Ferguson, Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Boston and Senior Fellow, Roosevelt Institute
James K. Galbraith, Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations and Professor of
Government, University of Texas at Austin
Leo W. Gerard, President, United Steelworkers International
Jane Hamsher, Blogger, Firedoglake.com
Leo Hindery, Jr., Chairman, Economic Growth/Smart Globalization Initiative at the New America
Foundation
Gary Kalman, Federal Office Director, U.S. PIRG
Nomi Prims, Senior Fellow, Demos
Andrew Stern, President, Service Employees International Union
Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
L. Randall Wray, Professor of Economics, University of Missouri-Kansas City


Sign on in support of the Bernie Sanders Audit the Fed Amendment here.