At the Huffington Post, Ryan Grim is reporting that the broad-based, bi-partisan “Audit the Fed” movement is being threatened by an amendment introduced by Mel Watt, a member of the House Financial Services Committee:
Rep. Mel Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, has introduced an amendment intended as an alternative to the measure to audit the Federal Reserve introduced by Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Alan Grayson‘s (D-Fla.). But instead of increasing transparency, as the amendment claims to do, Watt’s measure would instead make the institution more opaque.
The Grayson-Paul bill is co-sponsored by a staggering 310 representatives (out of 435 total). Why would Watt and oppose such a popular measure, and effectively do the bidding of powerful financial interests?
One possible explanation: Watt has extremely close ties to the American Bankers Association, the financial industry’s chief lobby. Joyce Brayboy, previously Watt’s chief of staff for 12 years, has been lobbying for the ABA since leaving Capitol Hill.
Update: The ABA has been among Watt’s top five contributors in every cycle since 2000, according to OpenSecrets data.