Fed Faces New Scrutiny for Trillions in Assistance to Banks After Crisis | PBS NewsHour | Nov. 29, 2011 | PBS:
"JUDY WOODRUFF: What did you learn about the scope of what the Fed did and who the recipients were?
BOB IVRY: It was a lot bigger than we thought, Judy, compared to TARP. TARP was the Treasury program that helped the banks get through a tough time in 2008.
And that was lending up to $700 billion. In one day, the Fed had loans out totaling $1.2 trillion. So, that one day in December of 2008 just completely dwarfs the much better known TARP program."
Now clearly it is not all bad. For instance, the Fed (in its role as lender of last resort) should be making these loans to the firms that needed it, but what about those that didn't need it but wanted a nice handout?
Also there is a debate as to how much of this was previously disclosed:
"JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, we know that you and Bloomberg News went to great lengths to get this information. There was a FOIA, a Freedom of Information, request that went all the way, I gather, to the Supreme Court.
But we did at the NewsHour talk to Fed officials today. And they say the extent to which this was hidden, was secret is being overstated here to some extent. They're saying that they made weekly reports about the amount of lending; then, ultimately, the information came out after the Dodd-Frank bill was passed into law.
BOB IVRY: They did disclose the information in aggregate form, meaning that you just got a lump: This particular program, for instance, lent this week this amount of money.
What we didn't know before very recently was that a bank like Morgan Stanley took $107 billion in one day or that Bank of America or Citigroup were borrowing on a single day at their peak almost $100 billion.
So, all that is now public. And that's because Bloomberg and Bloomberg News sued the Federal Reserve to get this money and to get this"