Barr, financial committee colleagues question Federal Reserve on leaked info

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) led 23 Republicans on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee in expressing concerns about leaks of confidential, market-moving information from the Federal Reserve regarding supervisory and regulatory plans and actions.

Rep. Barr and his colleagues think that specific leaks came from within the Federal Reserve or agencies with whom confidential supervisory information (CSI) was shared. They requested that the Fed provide additional details to ensure accountability, according to a recent letter they sent to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.

“We are concerned that the leaks may be from within your agency or other agencies with whom you shared the CSI,” wrote the lawmakers. “Any leak of CSI, especially tied to individual firms’ identities, would be a revelation of highly market-sensitive information.”

For instance, on Aug. 30, the press reported details of CSI, identified by firm name, on regulatory warnings labeled “matters requiring attention” and “matters requiring immediate attention,” the letter states.

“Press reports sourced the non-public CSI information that was inappropriately revealed to ‘people familiar with the matter,’” wrote Rep. Barr and his committee colleagues. “In our mind, it is unlikely ‘those people familiar with the matter’ are from each of the individual firms listed in the press reports. Equally unlikely is that the press reports involve unsubstantiated speculation by reporters.”

And on July 17, 10 days prior to the Fed issuing notices of proposed rulemakings (NPRs), details of the proposals were reported in the press, according to their letter.

“Those details unveiled significant and accurate aspects of the NPRs, including information sought by members of the Financial Services Committee prior to publication that was not provided to the committee,” the members wrote.  

Rep. Barr and his colleagues demanded that Powell provide transparency around the CSI leaks involving multiple financial firms.