Fox News Loses Suit Demanding Federal Reserve Loan Information

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Fox News to learn which banks were loaned money by the Federal Reserve during last year’s financial crisis was rejected last week by a federal judge in New York. But the effort to force the Fed to turn over such documentation is far from over.

In his decision, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said that publicizing the information sought by Fox News would deter borrowing and cause investors to panic, which might result in “great damage to the national economy.” Fox lawyers argued that Americans had a right to know which banks were propped up by the Fed using taxpayer dollars.
The 28-page ruling states that Federal Reserve loans through its so-called Discount Window expanded from $1 million a day in the first week of August 2007 to $188 billion in the last week of 2008.
Fox lawyers said they will probably appeal Hellerstein’s decision. In addition to this FOIA request, Bloomberg News has its own lawsuit seeking the same information from the Fed. That case is in the same court, but before Judge Loretta Preska, who is still deciding how to rule. Also, Fox has a lawsuit against the Treasury Department to gain access to bailout records, and The New York Times is suing both the Fed and the Treasury Department for similar documents.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Fox News Loses FOIA Suit Against Federal Reserve (by Jonathan Perlow, Courthouse News Service)
Fox Loses FOIA Suit against Federal Reserve (The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press)
Fox News Network v. Federal Reserve (U.S. District Court Southern District of New York) (PDF)


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