Mirabile Dictu! Fox News is Suing Treasury Department for Stonewalling Freedom of Information Act Requests

The end of days must be closer than I realized.

Conservative stalwart Fox News is not only taking on the officialdom, it is going after Republican authorities. This is almost as much fun as learning that J. Edgar Hoover was a cross-dresser.

But then again, Fox is going after the AIG rescue and the TARP, which have made peculiar allies of the left (who see it as an almost no strings attached subsidy to the big end of the financial sector that created this mess) and the right (who see it as creeping socialism and profligate use of tax dollars) with plenty of company in the middle (non-ideological types who are appalled by the lack of planning and controls). So this move represents the vein of conservative thinking that sees big-spending Bush as a traitor to the cause.

It’s no wonder the Treasury has tried the “just say no” approach. The more light shed on the bailouts, the less flattering the picture that is likely to emerge. But unlike the Bloomberg effort to compel the Fed to disclose information about the various Fed lending programs (exactly what collateral the central bank is taking and from whom), Fox ought to have decent odds of winning the fight. The Fed has contended that FOIA does not apply because the loans come out of the New York Fed, which is not a government body. while Treasury would appear to lack an easy out.

Go Fox! From its website:

FOX Business Network has filed a lawsuit against the United States Treasury Department over failure to provide information on the bailout funds or respond to FBN’s expedited requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act [FOIA].

The initial request, filed on November 25, sought actual data on the use of the bailout funds for American International Group and the Bank of New York Mellon, and an additional request, filed on December 1, sought similar data on the bailout funds for Citigroup, Inc. FBN is asking for the Treasury Department to identify, among other issues, the troubled assets purchased, any collateral extended, and any restrictions placed on these financial institutions for their participation in this program.

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  1. bg

    You make it sound like conservatives don’t have principles. Of course we want to go after bush/paulson on Tarp.

    We are going through idealogical ruptures, and new lines are being drawn, and new alliances formed. It will be interesting.

    guns/god/gays is so yesterday (and I think the score is 1 win, 1 loss, 1 tie). Today its about jobs, regulation, finance, and savings.

  2. Yves Smith


    I may sound a bit hard on conservatives, but the Bush crowd has been pretty corrupt for a long time, and it wasn’t until late in the game that the more traditional conservatives turned on him. Look at the Halliburton/Iraq contracting fraud. That is another example of looting, complete failure to adhere to Federal contracting rules.

    But conservatives value loyalty more than liberals do (I am not making this up, and I know there are always exceptions, but recent studies on personality differences between two types find this to be a major area of difference), and so were not quick to call Bush on his transgressions.

    But despite sounding cynical, i do welcome what Fox is doing. And the conservatives found harder against the TARP railroading than liberals did.

    You are right that we are seeing big shifts in the political, perhaps even the ideological landscape. It has the potential to be salutary.

  3. bg

    Has anyone recently told you how important your work is? You bring an intense intellectual honesty, crisp mind, and passionate beliefs to a really important and timely national debate.

    I for one, truly appreciate your sacrifice to the cause. There aren’t any easy answers, but our country seems hellbent on pursuing the obviously aweful ones.

    “The internet might have stopped Hitler”. Maybe you are the one.

  4. Yves Smith

    Wow, thank you, that is the nicest thing anyone has said in a while (and I know my readers are good about patting me on the back).

    One thing that distresses me is that it is hard for people in the US with different political view to have a civilized conversation. In Australia, it was possible for people to talk across political lines (in most cases) without getting upset. You can’t find common ground if you can’t talk to people of who may have a generally different point of view.

  5. Anonymous

    This little Banana republic we have here is gonna blow. Why in the hell get up and go to work, pay taxes and watch these ass hats just print money and give it to these same damn clowns that caused the mess. Most people would be better off to just quit their damn job, stop paying their bills and sit on their ass.

  6. Anonymous

    The one thing I will say about R. Murdock is he doesn’t give a rats ass who is politically in charge. He has on more than one occasion here in Australia made very flippant remarks to PM Howard (to his face) and his understanding of capitalism.

    I personally don’t care who does the job of exposing the rats in the house as long as it gets done.
    One rule of law for everyone, no exceptions. For those who break it, hard time in a hard jail and no jump suit country clubs for them either.

    Yes Yves, you are fair and balanced.


  7. fresno dan

    happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear (?Naked Capitalism or Yves?) happy birthday to you!!!
    And many more!!!

  8. Stephen Lins

    No surprise really. Let’s not forget that a larger proportion of Dems than Reps voted for TARP in Congress. In the house, the Dems voted 172-63 for TARP and Reps were 108-91 against. So Bush and Paulson have been swimming against the mainstream of their party from the start of this thing.

  9. Skullbiscuit

    One word – Consequences

    So far the only consequences of this financial scandal seems to be to those who had nothing to do with its creation. Those who profited from years of blowing up the bubble, or on the government side enabling the Banksters, have suffered no consequences of note. There is no behavioral modification of the individual or society unless the consequences of transgression are sufficiently punitive to force a change in behavior. I realize that this is a platitude but I see precious little in all the “fixes” to date which also bring consequences to the perps and change the underlying incentives/system to preclude the same or a different group of perps from doing it all over again once the smoke has cleared from this one.

    A new “Terror” for the banking class and their enablers is a precondition for bringing about change. It must be done in concert with changes in the underlying system and incentive structure. Until that happens I’m not looking for any lasting “change”

    Yves, I echo BG’s comments. I love your blog and for a retired military officer you and those contributing to this blog have given me an understanding of the roots of the problem, its principal actors, and their ongoing transgressions, that I would be otherwise unable to obtain through the MSM. I turn here first everyday to see what new machinations are coming out of Wall Street and Washington.

    Please continue. Your work is greatly appreciated.


  10. Anonymous

    “One thing that distresses me is that it is hard for people in the US with different political view to have a civilized conversation. In Australia, it was possible for people to talk across political lines (in most cases) without getting upset. You can’t find common ground if you can’t talk to people of who may have a generally different point of view.”

    I hope that all Americans realize we have a great opportunity to fix this once great country and it can only be done if we solve the problems as Americans not as Republians and Democrats. The political system is broken too. I am re-reading David McCullough’s John Adams; everyone should read this book to see how Americans work together for a common cause.

  11. Anonymous


    I wish you many more happy birthdays. Thank you for the gorgus birthday cake.

    I admire you for putting your extraordinary analytical talents and energy to this enterprise and hope you will continue for years to come and with increasing financial returns.

    And thank you also for calling out the scams, crooks and liars for what they are when it is necessary to do so. You do it with such reasoned, thorough and fair argument.

    This blog is an antidote to the scorn for constructive criticism in this culture. Its a trait that seems ominously like political suicide to me.

  12. Mannwich

    @bg: No, he’s making it sound like FOX doesn’t have any principles, which they don’t. The other MSM outlets don’t either.

  13. spare some change?

    “The Internet might have stopped Hitler”

    The Internet will be the glue that holds the next Hitler together. Think: surveillance of every transaction you make, every word you look up, every blog post you make; networked secret police; aggregation of intelligence to target more advanced surveillance at individuals who don’t seem to be predictable; coordinated disinformation coming from anonymous, highly trusted sources (I’m looking at you, Yves!); and much more.

    Outraged postings in the blogosphere will be like pissing in the wind. And more data for the intelligence aggregators.

    Oh yes, I think a modern day Hitler will love the Internet.

  14. Sandi Rubinspan

    That Faux News is going after the Treasury is some of the most encouraging news I have heard. The fact that the agent is the worst MSM enabler and guilty of subverting the FCC is not important right now.

    The truth will out. The more information available to Joe Lunchbucket, the closer we are to saving this great nation from the plutocratic fascists that have carried the day since Wrongald Rayguns.

    The information they seek will probably show that these institutions are recieving no strings attached rewards for criminal behaviour.

    I think it is important to prevent a depression. But that is not the same as agreeing too paying extortion money to the mobster/financial terrorists that have atacked our country. All grifters require secrecy as the means to continue the con. Government secrecy and lies are another aspect of bringing the US to the point of economic calamity. These folks are the last people who should be unsupervised and scrutibized.

  15. S


    I fear you might be overlooking the timing of the inquiry.Such timing would uindoubtedly be revealed when Bush is long gone. If this ever does get into the public domain, I don’t think it ever will, personally, the blame will fall not to Bush, but to congress and Geitner (who makes a very easy target). Let us not forget thast the calls running against this baiklout where close to 99 to 1.

  16. Greg

    Preventing the depression was only available as an option about 3-5 yrs ago. There is no other path to take now. We need to accept it and get on with it. The denial people are in will only make it harder to deal with. It could be argued that we are ALREADY in depression (assets devalued over 20%, real unemployment over 12%)……………….. see, it doesn’t feel that bad does it!

    I am glad that Fox is turning on their cronies and certainly a crisis like this does have the affect of galvanizing ALL Americans, but I still think the Limbaughs and Hannitys will stir up enough ultra right wing crazies to make the needed catharsis quite unpleasant. Those folks are not used to losing anything and they are great at making demons of anyone that doesn’t think just like them.
    They are self righteous, obnoxious, armed and dangerous.

  17. PB

    I also think this crisis is driving a reordering of ideological divides- I’ve completely lost track of whether I’m supposed to consider myself left or right of the political spectrum, although I guess that matter less as the lines begin to seriously blur.

    Besides, the regulatory capture in the US has been so strong that Dems have been just as much, if not more, ‘pro-free-for-all finance’ since Clinton. Bush and company were more concerned with their energy industry cronies and this financial mess came flying at them from left field.

  18. Anonymous

    Until the rule of law, transparency and consequences are returned to all financial transactions the country will continue to detoriate. I think many can join together around concepts like those noted above and Yves is to be supported for offering us a gathering point to share our opinions and observations.

    I keep quoting Einstein to others who said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”


    Great blog! Happy BDAY!
    Keep up the good, honest work. You will never see this type of honesty in corp media
    To everyone else, get the word out!
    Lets hold our politcians and thier Bankster crook friends ACCOUNTABLE!!!!!!!

  20. Anonymous

    I heard that Roger Ailes is a cross-dresser too.

    Actually, let me rephrase that:

    “Is Roger Ailes a cross-dresser?”

  21. spamdex

    yves your blog has been a breath of fresh air in a otherise polluted world of mainstream news info bites ……though i sometimes read other blogs ie.angry bear it is yours that most captures for me the essence of necessary news i need to be informed …..also your readers are a delight of intellegence and candor …….happy birthday to you and your importent and wonderful gift to us all

  22. Michael Fiorillo

    Hello Yves,

    I am a big fan of your site, but need to comment on the issue of speaking across disagreements in order to improve our rather desperate situation.

    While open communication is essential, it can only be honest and real if it is based on a modicum of mutuality and equity. That is virtually impossible for working people in this country today. As Warren Buffett has candidly said (perhaps the quote is not exactly right, but close enough), “You bet there’s a class war, and my class -the rich class -is winning.”

    Thus my skepticism about President Obama’s rhetoric about a “post-partisan” administration; as far as I’m concerned, an active pro-labor labor policy that goes far beyond the weak tea policies proposed so far is needed, something closer to FDR’s “chase the money-changers out of the temple” language, and actions, is needed.

    How exactly should I be expected to unite with people who are trying to take my pension, elimimate my job protections – I’m a dedicated public school teacher in a highly successful NYC public high school -, fatten off the destruction of the nation’s productive capacity and hoard an ever-increasing proportion of the national income?

    Until capital is compelled- and recent economic and political history strongly suggests that something more than appeals to altruism and national unity will be needed – to declare a truce in the class war, then some of us are obliged to fight our enemies before we can sit down and talk with them.

  23. GloomBoom.com

    Go Fox! We need to see what those assets are that we are using as collateral. “Opacity is the friend of thieves”!

  24. cap vandal

    My main beef with all of this is that a lot of the PR implies that that there is no disclosure of who got what. This is patently false.
    I’m not sure exactly what people on the Left want to know, other then stuff that is already public.
    It is also no wonder that the news media and traders are very very interested in the details of the Fed’s book. And not to lend it a hand.
    The Fed may be acting like a hedge fund but damn it, its our hedge fund. Until all traders have to give up their book to the FIA, I don’t want the Fed or Treasury to have to publish every last cusip.
    If the liberals want to know which fat, greedy bankers got what, they don’t need the FIA. Just look it up.

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