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Given that fate of the American—nay, the global!—economy rests on the decisions of a seven members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and five of its regional presidents, it is no wonder that their every public word, no matter how inscrutable, is scrutinized and analyzed beyond the wildest dreams of even the most ambitious Talmudic scholar. After all, the price of everything depends on it, from consumer staples to stocks to gold. And given that the Fed has had some recent issues when it comes to transparency, you’d think it and its leaders would make every effort to ensure that those words had the widest possible dissemination and were not seen to be giving a head’s up to the wealthy, well-connected and powerful.

Apparently not.

James Bullard, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, spoke last Friday at an off-the-record, invitation-only forum held by Citigroup, and open to clients, on the sidelines of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s annual meetings in Washington…. It was the kind of speaking event that the news media would typically be able to attend given the potential for market-moving news, but Mr. Bullard and his staff did not alert reporters…. It is not clear if Mr. Bullard’s speech violated the Fed’s communication rules, but some outside experts said they seemed to tiptoe near the line.

On the bright side, Bullard at least wasn’t paid for the performance. And he’s not the only person at the Fed slow to learn the lessons of Rosengren, Kaplan and Clarida.

Raphael Bostic, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, reported on Friday that he had failed to previously disclose financial transactions on his official central bank forms — including ones that ran afoul of Fed rules that limit trading ahead of Federal Reserve meetings.

Mr. Bostic also failed to initially disclose transactions that took place during the height of the central bank’s coronavirus response in 2020, when the Fed was intervening in markets.

A Fed President Spoke at an Invite-Only, Off-the-Record Bank Client Event [NYT]
After Trading Scandal, a Fed President Corrects His Financial Reports [NYT]
Three Hidden Words From Fed Insiders Point to Much Higher Rates [Bloomberg]

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