Warren: Powell's actions raise suspicions Fed may be hiding full scope of trading scandal

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is seen during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing to discuss oversight of the CARES Act within the Federal Reserve and Department of Treasury on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is seen during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing to discuss oversight of the CARES Act within the Federal Reserve and Department of Treasury on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.


Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday said Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's failure to disclose requested information on the trading scandal that rocked the central bank suggests that the Fed is hiding the full scope of the situation.

Warren penned a letter to Powell on Monday reiterating her request for the Fed to release all available information regarding trades made by central bank officials in addition to the ethics changes the bank announced in response to the trading scandal.

The Massachusetts Democrat noted that she previously sent requests for information on Oct. 21 and Dec. 7, both of which were not answered. She is now requesting that details be provided by Jan. 17.

She said the officials' failure to provide information "raises suspicions" that the Fed is not publicly disclosing the full extent of the trading scandal.

"I am deeply concerned that your continued refusal to release information about Fed officials' trading is at odds with your stated commitment to address the scandal 'forthrightly and transparently' and that, particularly in light of the new report, it raises suspicions that the Fed may be failing to disclose the full scope of the scandal to the public," Warren wrote.

A Fed spokesperson told The Hill that the central bank has received the letter but does not have any further comment.

The third push for information comes after The New York Times reported on Thursday that departing Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida did not disclose the degree of a financial transaction he made in early 2020, as the Central Bank was preparing to help the U.S. amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The top official reportedly sold stocks on Feb. 24, when financial markets were tanking amid coronavirus concerns.

He bought back those holdings on Feb. 27, according to the Times, a purchase that previously came under scrutiny because it was one day before Powell announced that the Fed was ready to act amid the pandemic.

The Fed has been under scrutiny following reports that top officials made investment decisions as the central bank was apportioning trillions of dollars in emergency relief funds.

Former Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren both announced retirements after information regarding the trading scandal became public.

Powell directed Fed officials in September to take a "comprehensive look" at ethics rules for permissible financial holdings and activities by senior staff.

Warren has been critical of Powell and the central bank. In October, she said the bank's chairman "failed as a leader" amid the trading scandal. She said he ignored a "culture of corruption" at the central bank and did not take adequate actions after three employees disclosed high-value financial trades that were made in the beginning days of the pandemic.

On Monday, Warren told Powell, "As new details about the trading scandal are uncovered, your continued refusal to release this information severely compounds concerns about the Fed's lack of transparency and your commitment to fully and honestly addressing the Fed's broken ethics culture."

This story was updated at 4:43 p.m.