The House Financial Services Committee has issued subpoenas to two federal government agencies and a branch of the central bank requesting information and documents regarding the government's "too big to fail" designation and the Obama Administration's debt ceiling, according to an announcement Monday on the Committee's website.
The Committee is accusing the U.S. Department of Justice, the Treasury Department, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York of obstructing active investigations by withholding crucial information. According to the Committee's announcement, the three agencies were warned that their failure to comply with the Committee's request to turn over the information would result in the issuance of subpoenas.
"As I have said many times, my hope was that subpoenas would never be necessary because government agencies would hold themselves accountable, answer the legitimate questions we’ve asked, and provide the information we’ve appropriately requested as our committee fulfills its constitutional oversight responsibilities to the American people," Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said. "Regrettably, these three government agencies have chosen to unlawfully obstruct, delay and withhold information that our Committee and the taxpayers have the right to know."
The Committee says the Justice Department has withheld information that would help the Committee assess whether Dodd-Frank ended "too big to fail" and whether a financial institution's size has been a factor in determining whether or not to prosecute. According to the announcement, the Committee also says the DOJ withheld information that could determine whether or not the government retaliated against a credit rating agency for downgrading the government's credit rating.
According to the Committee, both the New York Fed and Treasury failed to adequately produce documents and information related to the Obama Administration's contingency plan for the debt ceiling, and that Treasury withheld information regarding the prosecution of large banks.
"These agencies have failed to respond to repeated requests – one of which dates back more than two years. In light of this extraordinary stonewalling, the Committee is left with no reasonable alternative but to subpoena long-overdue information," Hensarling said. "The Financial Services Committee has the duty to hold these agencies accountable to hardworking taxpayers. Since they have repeatedly refused to cooperate, subpoenas for documents are a prudent and measured approach – entirely consistent with the rules of the Committee and the House, and prior precedents established by both Republican and Democratic committee chairmen."