A Victory for the People!

Today a right-left coalition scored a victory for the American people when Senators voted 96-0 to audit the Federal Reserve.

The Center for Media and Democracy's Wall Street Bailout Tally
shows that since 2008, the U.S. government has flooded Wall Street
banks and financial institutions with $4.7 trillion dollars in taxpayer
money, mostly in the form of loans from the Fed reserve. The Fed has
never told us which firms got these loans and what type of collateral
American taxpayers got in return. This will now be revealed. We will
also get an accounting of the Fed's "stealth" bailout of Fannie Mae and
Freddy Mac.

It is important to note that in November 2008, Bloomberg News
submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the most basic of
bailout information, but the Fed stalled forcing Bloomberg into court.
Two sets of judges have ordered the Fed to turn over the information,
but the Fed keeps stonewalling -- last week appealing the case Again.
The Senate bill now forces the Fed to turn over this critical
information. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont pulled
together a right-left coalition that got the job done.

Even though the Senators were not able to garner enough support to
secure a regulator annual audit as they had hoped, their measure broke
through the Fed's stonewall and will reveal important "Secrets of the


Late in the game, Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Chair of the
Senate Agriculture Committee, demanded that provisions be put into the
bill that would force the biggest banks to spin off their swaps
(or derivatives) desks into a separate entity. That entity can remain
part of the bank holding company, but it no longer has access to the
Federal Reserve's flow of funds, FDIC insurance and the taxpayer

In one fell swoop, her measure effectively spins force banks to spin
off their destructive gambling arm, protects the taxpayers and
downsizes the behemoth banks. What's not to love? The howls from Wall
Street could be heard in Wisconsin. Senator Judd Gregg is offering an
amendment to strip this language from the bill, and Senator Chambliss
will offer other weakening amendments. If you have a chance, tell your
Senators to support Lincoln and defeat weakening amendments, the Senate
switchboard is (202) 224-3121.


Also ask your Senators where they stand on the "Merkley-Levin
Amendment," cosponsored by Sens. Jeff Merkley and Carl Levin. This
amendment would stop banks from engaging in Goldman-Sachs-style bets
against their own clients. Reining in this practice, called
"proprietary trading," would significantly strengthen the financial
reform bill. Other great amendments are in the works if Senator Reid
will leave enough time for meaningful debate, including Senator
Dorgan's measure to ban "naked" credit default swaps, the worst
"weapons of economic destruction." Tell the Senate to "Break Up the
Banks" at BanksterUSA.org if you have not yet had a chance to contact your Senator.

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