Bloomberg News Executive Editor Daniel Moss testified at a hearing in June before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that the shift to federal computers “gives the government unfettered access to reporters’ notes and drafts.”
Today the premature release involved the Fed itself rather than the media.
“The next time they point a finger at the media for being the bad guys this is going to be example ‘A’ that mistakes get made all the time,” said Lucy Dalglish, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. “This is not just a media issue.”
The Fed contacted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission about the earl release. The Fed Board also asked its inspector general to review its procedures.
“Certainly, for a public company, if disclosure was made selectively of material non-public information, the appropriate response for the company would be to, as soon as possible, put the information out to the public at large,” said David Martin, a partner at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington.
The Fed’s public affairs office has explored for several months ways to increase the security around the release of Fed documents with the press, and this year narrowed the time between the FOMC statement publication and Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s press conferences.
Some members of the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee received the minutes early, according to staff members who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter.
Lobbyists for trade groups that represent some of the country’s biggest banks, such as Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., also were among the recipients.
The Fed’s congressional liaison routinely keeps congressional leaders and bank lobbyists informed about Fed policy with copies of testimony and other documents after they are made available to the public. Gross is a former staffer of former Senator Phil Gramm, a Texas Republican who chaired the Banking Committee from 1999 to 2001.
A Fed spokesman declined to comment on why the minutes weren’t distributed more widely until 9 a.m. today.