Fed Asks Court to Delay Release of Bank Bailout Documents

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The Federal Reserve Board asked an appeals court to delay the court-ordered release of documents that would identify banks that might have failed without support from the U.S. government.

The Fed asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York to delay the release while it consults with the Department of Justice about a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Bloomberg News reported.

On Aug. 20, the appeals court denied the Fed's request to reconsider a decision compelling the central bank to release records of the $2 trillion U.S. loan program.

The documents in question are 231 "term sheets" which record Fed lending to financial companies in 2008. The records include the names of the banks and the amounts borrowed. The late Mark Pittman, a Bloomberg News reporter, originally requested the records through the Freedom of Information act.

The Fed argued that releasing the documents could stigmatize banks, causing them "severe and irreparable competitive injury." This would then discourage other banks in distress from seeking help, the Fed argued.

If a delay is granted, the Fed will have 90 days to petition the Supreme Court to consider an appeal.
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