October 21, 2021

Warren Calls For Immediate Release of Ethics Warnings Given to Fed Officials As Fed Acted to Address COVID-19 Economic Fallout

New New York Times Report Reveals Fed Officials Received Warnings about Ethics Risks of Investment Trading in March 2020 

Text of Letter (PDF)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell to immediately release warnings provided by the Fed ethics office in early 2020, as the Fed took dramatic steps to protect the economy at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. New reporting from the New York Times today revealed that Fed officials received an email from the Fed ethics office in March 2020 about the ethics risks of trading stocks, bonds, and other investments. As the ethics scandal involving trading by top Fed officials grows, Senator Warren asked Fed Chair Powell for the quick release of the Fed’s ethics advice, including the email that reportedly warned officials to “avoid unnecessary trading for a few months as the Fed dived deeper into markets.” 

“The Fed has not released this email, or any other ethics advice given to Fed officials during the time period when it was heavily involved in financial markets in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am writing to ask that you release this information immediately, so that Congress and the public can evaluate the extent to which Fed officials may have known of the risks from their trading, and if they ignored calls by ethics officials to avoid this scandalous behavior,” wrote Senator Warren.

Senator Warren has long championed tighter ethics rules that prohibit all government officials from holding or trading individual stock that may be influenced by their agency, department, or actions. In light of the growing culture of corruption at the Fed, based on reports of ethically questionable financial activity by high-ranking officials, Senator Warren has raised deep concerns over conflicts of interests that have undermined public confidence in the Fed. She previously called on the SEC to investigate the extent of trading activity by high-level Federal Reserve officials and possible ethics violations. She also urged Regional Fed leaders to adopt robust and comprehensive ethics guidelines in her Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act.