In 2020, officials of the U.S. Federal Reserve traded stocks and other securities while the central bank was shoring up financial markets with bond purchases, rock-bottom interest rates, and other aids.
The reported trades were made by Robert Kaplan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and Eric Rosengren, president of the Boston Fed.
The trades violated no laws and complied with federal regulations, The New York Times reported, but raised questions about the officials’ judgment and the Fed’s ethical standards, which seem to allow the possibility or appearance that senior Fed officers could profit from inside information.
In particular, the 24 stock deals, each worth $1 million or more, Kaplan made last year raised eyebrows, although none took place during March or April 2020, when the Fed was implementing most of its support programs.
Kaplan traded shares of companies affected by 2020’s economic chaos, including medical supplier Johnson & Johnson and several oil and gas companies.
Kaplan also bought bonds of companies that the Fed later included in its own bond purchases as part of its economic rescue effort.
“While my financial transactions conducted during my years as Dallas Fed president have complied with the Federal Reserve’s ethics rules, to avoid even the appearance of any conflict of interest, I have decided to change my personal investment practices,” Kaplan said in a statement.
“There will be no trading in these accounts as long as I am serving as president of the Dallas Fed,” he pledged.
Rosengren also issued a carefully-worded statement.
“I made some personal investment decisions last year that were permissible under Fed ethics rules,” he acknowledged. “Regrettably, the appearance of such permissible personal investment decisions has generated some questions, so I have made the decision to divest these assets to underscore my commitment to Fed ethics guidelines.
“It is extremely important to me to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, and I believe these steps will achieve that,” he said.
The moves may not quell the outcry over ethics rules that allow Fed officials to trade actively across a range of venues, the NYT noted.
“What we have now is an ethics system built on a very narrow conception of what a central bank is and should be,” Peter Conti-Brown, a University of Pennsylvania historian of the Fed, commented to the NYT.
The Fed’s broad and active role in the economy, which has grown since the bank’s ethics rules were created, the NYT said, give Fed officials advance and inside information about economic sectors and prospects.
However, the bank’s ethical standards still place few limits on the investments its senior officers can make.
When asked if those rules should be tightened, John Williams, president of the New York Fed, said, “That’s a broader question that I don’t have a particular answer for right now.”
He made the comments last week in a conference call with reporters that the NYT cited.
Political scientist Sarah Binder at George Washington University, author of a book on Fed politics, was more blunt.
The ethical dust-up “highlights the crazy, weird, Byzantine nature of the Fed,” she said in an NYT interview.
“It’s almost impossible to keep the rules straight, the lines of accountability straight,” she said.
A similar controversy arose earlier this year when Janet Yellin was nominated to become treasury secretary.
Her financial disclosure forms showed that she had collected more than $7 million in speaking fees from banks and corporations in 2019 and 2020 after ending her time as chair of the Fed, which we reported in “Bankster Bandits in Charge—Janet Yellin’s Secret Money, Meetings, and Phone Calls” (24 Aug 2021).
TRENDPOST: The game is rigged. Governments and their Bankster Bandits buddies are nothing more than a criminal syndicate that front as legitimate operations for We the People that are shilled as “democracies” and a banking system.
We have been writing about this for decades. It is not a “revolving” door of people rotating between government and Big business…it’s one door. Or, as the great Comedian George Carlin noted, “It’s one big club, and you ain’t in it.”
TREND FORECAST: As the global economies decline and the rich get richer, prepare for our “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS 2.0” trend we forecast back in December 2019 when there was a global rise in anger directed at the 1 percent, that was already spreading globally prior to 2020’s COVID War will accelerate.
Those demonstrations that were sweeping much of the globe were halted when the government used the COVID War to restrict street protests.
As Gerald Celente has long noted, “When people lose everything and have nothing left to lose, they lose it.” And many are “losing it.” With the rich getting richer, the elites become more “elite’ and there will be uprisings to bring them down.
With the gap between the rich and poor widening, so, too, will the animosity between the “haves” and “have nots.” And as the Bigs keep getting bigger, income inequality will be a key platform in the formation of new political parties across the globe.
Gated communities will increase in popularity, and more private security will be hired by the haves who will be gangland targets.