Recently, the Senate passed a financial reform bill that was intended to provide the necessary regulatory measures to prevent another financial crisis. Senator Patrick Leahy was credited with putting measures into the bill that will “increase transparency and give regulators better tools to pursue financial fraud laws.” Spanning over 2300 pages in length, the bill itself is hardly transparent.
A wide range of provisions were included in the bill ranging from efforts to keep conflict minerals, or “blood diamonds,” out of consumer products to the establishment of a new and independent bureaucracy within the Fed charged with keeping an eye on potential risks to financial stability. Also included in the bill is a provision that exempts the SEC from adhering to Freedom of Information Act requests. Federal regulators need to be just as transparent as the banks they regulate to ensure that they are doing their job properly.
Senator Leahy and others taking credit for the bill should have discovered and blocked the SEC provision. However, it was the press, not Congressional delegates, that brought the matter to light. Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that our legislators are no longer reading bills before they are brought to a vote. As Nancy Pelosi said, “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”
“Reading, not rubber stamping, provides for more effective legislation,” said Len Britton, “as Senator, I would read all legislation before voting on it.”