Kudos to two organizations for pursuing that rabbit-hole of obfuscation otherwise known as the White House. First, to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) for winning the right to sue the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the Office of Administration (OA), and the Archivist, and force the OA to restore deleted White House emails from March 2003 to October 2005 before they are irretrievable. According to a press release on November 10 from CREW, “D.C. District Court Judge Henry Kennedy upheld lawsuits brought by [CREW] and the National Security Archive challenging the White House’s failure to properly store and recover millions of emails.” As reported on the Washington Post‘s investigations blog, “The emails are thought to pertain to several controversial issues including the Iraq war, the Valerie Plame leak and the CIA’s destruction of interrogation tapes.”
And second, to Bloomberg News for filing suit under the Freedom of Information Act against the Federal Reserve to force it to “disclose securities the central bank is accepting on behalf of American taxpayers as collateral for $1.5 trillion of loans to banks.” One and a half trillion, you ask? Yes, and this figure doesn’t even include the $700 billion bailout approved by Congress. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Pittman, the Fed lent $1.5 trillion to banks, including Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.; in late May 2008, Bloomberg News requested data on collateral posted between April 4 and May 20. Although the Fed stated that it would look into whether or not it could make the records public, it never formally responded to Bloomberg’s request. Hence, the law suit. I’ll admit that I have a limited grasp on the failture of all these financial institutions but I do have a something of a grasp on common sense. If I were to lend my best friend $100,000, I would want to know what collateral is going to back up that chunk of money in case my friend goes belly up. Given that at least some portion of that $1.5 trillion is yours and mine, I think we have a right to know whether or not Citigroup’s collateral is a thousand acres of swamp land.