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Judge Sets Sept. 30 Deadline for Fed to Appeal Disclosure Order

Mark Pijttman

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The Fed’s Board of Governors asked Manhattan Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska to delay enforcement of her Aug. 24 decision that the identities of borrowers in 11 lending programs be made public by Aug. 31. The central bank wanted Preska to stay her order until the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York can hear the case.

The Fed’s “ability to effectively manage the current, and any future, financial crisis” would be impaired, according to the Fed’s motion for a stay. It said “significant harms” could befall the U.S. economy as well.

Bloomberg LP, the New York-based company majority-owned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, sued on Nov. 7 under the Freedom of Information Act on behalf of its Bloomberg News unit.

Fed lawyer Kit Wheatley told Preska in a conference call yesterday that it could take 30 days for the Fed to get permission for an appeal from Solicitor General Elena Kagan, the administration’s top courtroom lawyer.

Preska told the Fed they must file for an emergency appeal within three days of receiving permission with an ultimate deadline of Sept 30. The judge left it up to the Court of Appeals to decide whether to continue staying her order to disclose once the appeal is under way.

Names Withheld

The Fed has refused to name the financial firms it lent to or disclose the amounts or the assets put up as collateral under the emergency programs, saying disclosure might set off a run by depositors and unsettle shareholders.

The Bloomberg lawsuit said the collateral lists “are central to understanding and assessing the government’s response to the most cataclysmic financial crisis in America since the Great Depression.”

The case is Bloomberg LP v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 08-CV-9595, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Pittman in New York at