Bailout records public – go get ’em!

A federal appeals court ruled today that the Federal Reserve Board must release records relating to the bank buyout to Bloomberg News, saying the public interest outweighs fears of alleged harm to banks (see story). Good for them!

The court provided a three-part test for when the government can keep such records secret: When the information is a trade secret, when it must be obtained from a person (rather than the agency), and when it is privileged or confidential.

This is great news, and sends a signal that when the government spends money to help businesses, taxpayers deserve to know where their bucks are going. Based on this thinking, the public should have access to records documenting subsidies to businesses, bailouts, and any other situation where we are footing the bill.

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