Federal Reserve Board: President of Richmond Fed Admits to Confirming Confidential FOMC Information to a Reporter, Resigns

This blog has covered a leak to Medley Global Advisors, which had occurred with Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) information. According to Reuters, the person claiming to be responsible for the leak was a member of the FOMC, Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. He has resigned on April 4, 2017.  (He had planned to retire in October 2017.)

Lacker has come up in another story of the blog, the story of laughter at the vulnerable at FOMC meetings in 2011. (Lacker did not seem to participate in the laughter.)

That the Fed’s Office of Inspector General did not uncover this information shows again the fraility of an non-independent inspector general. As stated in a previous blog post–

“In addition, the leak situation demonstrates the weak position of the IG. Sadly, the Board’s IG is akin to a toothless tiger.

  • The Board selects its [Inspector General] IG. The IG is not nominated by the President and approved by the U.S. Senate. Thus, an immediate conflict of interest and lack of independence is created.
  • Further, the IG submits a budget to the Board for its approval (See Board Annual Report, 2013, page 314 (paragraph 3)). Again, the IG instantly is subservient to the head of the agency. As a result, the IG cannot function.”

Ryan Lochte: When Wealth, Athletic Ability, Nationality, Race, and Gender Blurs Accountability–His Story of Armed Robbery Collapsed; Teammates Held in Brazil to Provide Statements, while Lochte Is in the United States

Ryan Lochte, 32, competed as a swimmer in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After completing his events, however, he became involved in an incident outside of the Olympic Village.

On Sunday August 14, 2016, Lochte stated that he had property taken at gunpoint in an interview with NBC’s Billy Bush. Present with Lochte were U.S. Olympic teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and James Feigen. Lochte continued his account, with some changed details, in an interview with Matt Lauer on August 18 (http://www.today.com/news/ryan-lochte-defends-rio-robbery-account-matt-lauer-we-wouldn-t101973).

Lochte also posted a statement on his Instagram account.

Brazilian authorities conducted an investigation and found that the facts did not accord with Lochte’s version of events. (In addition, Brazilian police recommended that the prosecutor file charges against Lochte and Feigen (the elder men of the four) for filing a false police report of a crime.)

[Update (August 19, 2016): Ryan Lochte offers a so-called apology second explanation for the incident in Brazil. (Media in the United States are far too lenient (yet also way too inclusive) with the word “apology.” It’s shameful. Lochte said he was robbed of his property at gunpoint with NBC’s Billy Bush on Sunday August 14, 2016. This so-called statement is unacceptable.)

Separately, as reported in the Washington Post, James Feigen will make a payment of $10,800 to a Brazilian charity, Instituto Reação (in Portuguese), and will then be free to leave Brazil.]

Seeming to want to refocus attention on the Olympic Games, a spokesman for the International Olympic Committee, Mario Andrada, asked for people to consider the event an occurrence of error.

“These kids tried to have fun, they tried to represent their country to the best of their abilities,” Andrada said. “They competed under gigantic pressure. Let’s give these kids a break. They had fun, they made a mistake, life goes on.”

Kids? It is necessary to mention the ages of the adult athletes involved:

Name Age Net Worth
Ryan Lochte 32 (3-Aug-84) (estimated net worth of $3 million)
Gunnar Bentz 20 (3-Jan-96)
Jack Conger 21 (26-Sept-94)
James Feigen 26 (26-Sept-89)

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The swimmers involved are young adults, not children. In addition, the statement gives a broad latitude to excuse  misbehavior by athletes. That Lochte left his teammates to carry the weight of this situation shows his unwillingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions and failure to support his friends/fellow teammates. (Also, one must consider whether an equivalent light hand would be offered to nonwhite athletes (or athletes from non-wealthy nations).)

All is not lost if Lochte sorts out and repairs this unfortunate event, including paying for damages to the gasoline station and making amends with the authorities of the Olympic host city of Rio de Janeiro. If not, then Lochte has lost my respect.

[Author’s Note: The other three seem to have been caught up in this cover-up situation and left to fend for themselves. I do believe that a second chance is merited (for these 3). If only this mercy were universally provided to all human beings who make mistakes, the world would be a much better place.)]

Of note: Amini Fonua, swimmer and Olympic athlete from Tonga, posted a tweet in support of Feigen.