The Federal Reserve Board just lost its attempt to appeal the trial court decision that ordered it to release records detailing which financial firms it feared might collapse following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.
The decision means that the Fed will have to release the records related to its $2 trillion loan program, unless it can get the Supreme Court to agree to hear an appeal or get the Second Circuit to agree to rehear the matter.
The case was filed by Bloomberg News in November of 2008.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled today that the Fed must release records of the unprecedented $2 trillion U.S. loan program launched primarily after the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. The ruling upholds a decision of a lower-court judge, who in August ordered that the information be released.
Fed had argued that it could withhold the information under an exemption that allows federal agencies to refuse disclosure of “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential.”
The U.S. Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, “sets forth no basis for the exemption the Board asks us to read into it,” U.S. Circuit Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs wrote in the opinion. “If the Board believes such an exemption would better serve the national interest, it should ask Congress to amend the statute.”
The opinion may not be the final word in the bid for the documents, which was launched by Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, with a November 2008 lawsuit. The Fed may seek a rehearing or appeal to the full appeals court and eventually petition the U.S. Supreme Court.
And here’s the Appeals Court’s decision.