Fox News appeals ruling for U.S. Fed over bailout

Wed Sep 9, 2009 7:05pm EDT

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* Fed had said disclosure could hurt banks, economy

* Different judge ruled for Bloomberg News in similar case

NEW YORK, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Fox News Network LLC on Wednesday appealed a U.S. judge's decision not to force the U.S. Federal Reserve to reveal the names of participants in its emergency lending programs.

The news network, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (NWSA.O) filed with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to over turn a July 30 ruling by U.S. District Judge Hellerstein that denied the network's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of the U.S. central bank.

In a similar case in late August, the chief district judge of the same court - the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York - ruled for Bloomberg News and ordered the Fed to release the names and amounts

Chief District Judge Loretta Preska ruled in favor of Bloomberg News and against the Fed saying the central bank had to release the names of the banks that participated in its emergency lending programs.

The Fed appealed Preska's ruling and now both cases are before the 2d Circuit.

The Fed argued in both cases that disclosure could cause "competitive and reputational harm" to participants, potentially triggering bank runs and hurting the economy if information or rumors were allowed to spread.

Judge Hellerstein said such concerns "cannot be dismissed," and that the Fed has "real concern" those disclosures would reveal proprietary trading strategies and portfolio details.

"The national economy is not so out of danger, and the frailty of banks so different now ... as to make the board's concern academic," he said.

Both cases raise the issue of how much the public has a right to know about how the government is bailing out a troubled financial system.

The Fox case is Fox News Network LLC v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan), No. 09-272. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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