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Board Report: 2013-AA-B-001 January 18, 2013

No Changes Recommended to Freedom of Information Act Exemption Included in the Amended Federal Reserve Act

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Appendix A: Scope and Methodology

We performed this evaluation as directed by section 1103 of the Dodd-Frank Act. To fulfill our mandates, we reviewed relevant statutes, including FOIA, the Dodd-Frank Act, the FRA, and their relevant legislative history. We also reviewed selected GAO and OIG reports, as well as news articles, court briefs, testimonies, and decisions. In addition, we interviewed officials and staff from the Board, the FOMC, and the Reserve Banks of New York and Boston. We selected these Reserve Banks because, in addition to conducting discount window lending as all Reserve Banks do, these two Reserve Banks operated emergency credit facilities during the financial crisis, and FRB-NY conducts open market operations under the direction of the FOMC.

To determine the impact of the FOIA exemption on the public's ability to access information about the Board's administration of emergency credit facilities, discount window lending programs, and open market operations, we identified information regarding the administration of these programs that is publicly available and that is, therefore, not impacted by this FOIA exemption. This information includes regulations, circulars, reports, testimonies, press releases, and other information that is publicly available from the websites of the Board, the Reserve Banks, and GAO. We also met with officials and staff from the Board, the FOMC, and select Reserve Banks, and we reviewed the information released by the Board and the Reserve Banks in response to the Dodd-Frank Act disclosure requirements to date. In addition, we worked with personnel from the Board's and the FOMC's FOIA offices to identify and review FOIA requests made to the Board and the FOMC for documents with information that is protected by this FOIA exemption, as well as the actual usage of this FOIA exemption from its availability with the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act on July 21, 2010, through October 31, 2012, the end of our FOIA review period.

To determine whether to make any recommendations regarding whether the FOIA exemption in section 11(s) of the FRA should remain in effect, we attempted to identify any actual impact of the usage of this FOIA exemption. In addition, we interviewed officials and staff from the Board, the FOMC, and the Reserve Banks to discuss the potential impact of information disclosure. We utilized various search tools and also worked with staff at the Library of Congress and the Federal Reserve Board Research Library to research case studies and articles concerning similar disclosure issues and potential effects of information release. We also considered the intent of the Dodd-Frank Act, as stated in the Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of Conference, that the Federal Reserve "will publicly disclose data on discount window and open market operations, and details about emergency lending, after a delay that will allow these tools to function effectively."

We conducted our evaluation fieldwork from June 2012 through November 2012 in accordance with the Quality Standards for Inspection and Evaluation issued by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.