The Supreme Court let stand a ruling that the U.S. Federal Reserve must release data on emergency loans made to Wall Street banks during the financial crisis in 2008.
The high court declined to hear the appeals of the Clearing House Association, a group that represents major commercial banks such as Bank of America and JPMorgan. The group was seeking to reverse a ruling by a federal appeals court that ordered the Federal Reserve to disclose details about the central bank’s emergency lending.
At issue were lawsuits by Bloomberg News and Fox Business Network that claimed the Federal Reserve was required to disclose details of the economic bailout under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
FOIA requires federal agencies to make government documents publicly available upon request, but contains various exemptions to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information.
“We are disappointed that the Court has declined our petitions, which deal with the protection of highly confidential bank information provided to the Federal Reserve,” the Clearing House Association said in a statement. “Fortunately, Congress was well aware of the sensitivity of disclosing this information. As part of the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress adopted a specific rule to ensure that in the future this confidential information will not be disclosed prematurely to the detriment of our financial system.”
The Federal Reserve Board said it would comply with the court’s order and was preparing to make the information available.
In recent rulings concerning the FOIA, the Supreme Court has upheld the public’s right to access government information.
The Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that AT&T could not use personal privacy exemptions in the act to prevent the disclosure of federal government documents about the company. The high court also ruled that the government could not use an exemption in FOIA to withhold certain Navy maps and data from the public.