Federal Reserve Refuses to Provide Records of Foreign Gold Holdings

March 28, 2024

Weeks after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell evaded a sitting congressman’s questions about the central bank’s foreign gold holdings, the Fed has also declined to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request for records about such holdings.

The Federal Reserve’s lack of transparency comes amidst reports that countries are removing their gold and other assets from the U.S. in the wake of the unprecedented Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. According to a 2023 Invesco survey, a “substantial percentage” of central banks expressed concern about how the U.S. and its allies froze nearly half of Russia’s $650 billion gold and forex reserves.

Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., asked Powell about the matter in a December letter, only to have the Fed chair respond last month with evasive non-answers, telling him that the Federal Reserve does not own gold but holds it as a custodian for other entities—a fact that the congressman presumably already knew.

Following Powell’s evasive response, Headline USA filed a FOIA request with the Fed for records reflecting how much gold the Federal Reserve Bank of New York currently holds in its vault, as well as records reflecting the ownership stake that each of FRBNY’s central bank/government clients have in that gold. The FOIA request also sought records about the Fed’s gold holdings prior to Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

However, the Federal Reserve denied the FOIA request on Wednesday.

“Board staff consulted with staff at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (‘Reserve Bank’) and have been advised that such records, if they exist, would be Reserve Bank records, and consequently, not subject to the Board’s Rules Regarding Availability of Information,” the Fed said.

The Federal Reserve said that this publication could take its request to the New York Fed. However, that institution isn’t subject to FOIA.

Headline USA is working on an appeal.

Meanwhile, sound-money advocates are blasting the Fed’s lack of transparency.

“They’re just passing the buck to the New York Fed. The FRB could obtain the data from the New York Fed if it wanted to, and then could share it with you if it wanted to. The Fed chairman has already essentially told Representative Mooney that the Fed doesn’t want to disclose the information,” said Chris Powell, secretary-treasurer of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee.

“If only other news organizations dared to ask such relevant questions about the secret operations of the Federal Reserve System,” he said.

According to Stefan Gleason, CEO of Money Metals Exchange, a large online precious metals dealer and depository based in Idaho, "The Fed doesn't want anyone to know that foreign governments and other central banks are yanking their gold from America's shores because it would reveal the folly of U.S. monetary and foreign policy."

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Ken Silva is an investigative reporter for Headline USA whose reporting interests include FBI corruption, clandestine government activities, and extremist groups.


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