The ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee would like the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to provide documents related to its focus on climate change and social justice issues.
Regional Fed banks have increasingly been engaged in research on "social policy topics reflective of the political and normative leanings of unelected Federal Reserve Bank officials," Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said in a letter Monday to Mary C. Daly, president and CEO of the San Francisco Fed. "This approach has inserted the Federal Reserve into the emotionally charged political arena — a place where the Federal Reserve seldom has ventured, and for good reason."
Mr. Toomey requested a number of documents by April 9 related to the San Francisco Fed's planning for its upcoming seminar on climate economics, documents and emails that "describe or refer to the impetus behind the FRBSF's focus on climate change and/or racial justice issues," and its annual expenses over the last decade dedicated to research and community development.
"The Federal Reserve may pursue mission creep or welcome itself to political capture," Mr. Toomey said. "But such activities are inconsistent with its statutory responsibilities; only Congress has the authority to reform the Federal Reserve or modify its mission."
A spokesman for the San Francisco Fed said in an email, "We have received and are reviewing Sen. Toomey's letter, and we look forward to discussing the contents with Sen. Toomey's office."
On March 23, Lael Brainard, a member of the Federal Reserve's board of governors, said the central bank is launching the Financial Stability Climate Committee to identify, assess and address climate-related financial stability risks.
"It is increasingly clear that climate change could have important implications for the Federal Reserve in carrying out its responsibilities assigned by the Congress," Ms. Brainard said during a speech at a Ceres conference, according to a transcript posted on the Fed's website.