American Experiment pressures Fed Bank to change policy

Center of the American Experiment and the Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis asking for information related to the bank’s lobbying, advocacy and education efforts related to the Page Amendment and other Minneapolis Fed initiatives. The Page Amendment is a public policy proposal to change the language of the Minnesota State Constitution regarding K-12 education. 

After pressure from American Experiment and former United States Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, the Federal Reserve Bank changed its policy in December and now prohibits bank employees from using or creating the appearance of using their position or bank resources to influence an election or ballot initiative. On January 11, 2022, American Experiment sent a letter to the head of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C. and the directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis demanding they take immediate action to shut down the bank’s unlawful and unwise grass roots lobbying campaign to enact the Page Amendment. Sen. Toomey sent his own letter to the Fed in April of 2022. 

“We are pleased to see the Federal Reserve finally crack down on state lobbying by their employees,” said Peter Nelson, Senior Policy Fellow at American Experiment. “Minnesotans can now be assured that federal dollars won’t be used to lobby for or against changes to the state constitution, especially controversial changes like the Page Amendment.”

American Experiment and UMLC used the recent policy change at the Federal Reserve to bolster their case that the bank’s regional offices are subject to the Freedom of Information Act, writing, “The Board of Governors’ recent action requiring all regional banks to approve and adopt a new clause prohibiting employees from using their position or bank resources to influence ballot questions is case-in-point. Under this structure, the Reserve Banks clearly operate as government controlled corporations and are therefore subject to the FOIA.”

“The Federal Reserve can’t have it both ways — they can’t dictate federal policy one day and claim they aren’t a federal agency the next,” added James Dickey, Senior Trial Counsel at the Upper Midwest Law Center. “It’s time for the Minneapolis Fed to lead the nation’s Reserve Banks toward a new era of transparency and comply with our information request.”

A copy of the FOIA request can be found here: