row of books on library shelfA Gold Classics Library Selection


Who owns and controls the Federal Reserve

by Dr. Edward Flaherty

Author’s preface – Is the Federal Reserve System secretly owned and covertly controlled by powerful foreign banking interests? If so, how? These claims, made chiefly by authors Eustace Mullins (1983) and Gary Kah (1991) and repeated by many others, are quite serious because the Fed is the United States central bank and controls U.S. monetary policy. By changing the supply of money in circulation, the Fed influences interest rates, affecting the mortgage payments of millions of families, causing the financial markets to boom or collapse, and prompting the economy to expand or to stumble into recession. Such awesome power presumably would be used to benefit the U.S. economy. Mullins and Kah both argued that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is owned by foreigners. Although the New York Fed is just one of twelve Federal Reserve banks, controlling it, they claimed, is tantamount to control of the entire System. Foreigners use their command of the New York Fed to manipulate U.S. monetary policy for their own and, as Kah asserted, to further their global political goals, namely the establishment of the sinister New World Order.

This essay examines the accuracy of these claims. Specifically, it investigates the charge that the New York Federal Reserve Bank is owned, directly or indirectly, by foreign elements, whether the New York Fed in effect runs the whole Federal Reserve System, and whether its enormous annual profits accrue primarily to foreigners or to the U.S government. This essay shows that there is little evidence to support the idea of foreign ownership and much that contradicts it. In addition, it presents evidence to show that the New York Fed does not command the entire System, as well as recent data demonstrating that the System’s profits are paid to the federal government.

Who Owns the Federal Reserve Bank of New York?

photo of entrance to New York Federal ReserveEach of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks is organized into a corporation whose shares are sold to the commercial banks and thrifts operating within the Bank’s district. Shareholders elect six of the nine the board of directors for their regional Federal Reserve Bank as well as its president. Mullins reported that the top eight stockholders of the New York Fed were, in order from largest to smallest as of 1983, Citibank, Chase Manhatten, Morgan Guaranty Trust, Chemical Bank, Manufacturers Hanover Trust, Bankers Trust Company, National Bank of North America, and the Bank of New York (Mullins, p. 179). Together, these banks owned about 63 percent of the New York Fed’s outstanding stock. Mullins then showed that many of these banks are owned by about a dozen European banking organizations, mostly British, and most notably the Rothschild banking dynasty. Through their American agents they are able to select the board of directors for the New York Fed and to direct U.S. monetary policy. Mullins explained,

‘… The most powerful men in the United States were themselves answerable to another power, a foreign power, and a power which had been steadfastly seeking to extend its control over the young republic since its very inception. The power was the financial power of England, centered in the London Branch of the House of Rothschild. The fact was that in 1910, the United States was for all practical purposes being ruled from England, and so it is today’ (Mullins, p. 47-48).

He further commented that the day the Federal Reserve Act was passed, “the Constitution ceased to be the governing covenant of the American people, and our liberties were handed over to a small group of international bankers” (Ibid, p. 29).

Unfortunately, Mullins’ source for the stockholders of the New York Fed could not be verified. He claimed his source was the Federal Reserve Bulletin, although it has never included shareholder information, nor has any other Federal Reserve periodical. It is difficult researching this particular claim because a Federal Reserve Bank is not a publicly traded corporation and is therefore not required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to publish a list of its major shareholders. The question of ownership can still be addressed, however, by examining the legal rules for acquisition of such stock. The Federal Reserve Act requires national banks and participating state banks to purchase shares of their regional Federal Reserve Bank upon joining the System, thereby becoming “member banks” (12 USCA 282). Since the eight banks Mullins named all operate within the New York Federal Reserve district, and are all nationally chartered banks, they are required to be shareholders of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. They are also probably the major shareholders as Mullins claimed.

Are these eight banks on Mullins’ list of stockholders owned by foreigners, what Mullins termed the London Connection? The SEC requires the name of any individual or organization that owns more than 5 percent of the outstanding shares of a publicly traded firm be made public. If foreigners own any shares of Mullins’ eight banks, then their portions are not greater than 5 percent at this time. With no significant holdings of the major New York area banks, it does not seem likely that foreign conspirators could direct their actions.

Perhaps foreigners own shares of the New York Federal Reserve Bank directly. The law stipulates a small portion of Federal Reserve stock may be available for sale to the public. No person or organization, however, may own more than $25,000 of such public stock and none of it carries voting rights (12 USCA 283). However, under the terms of the Federal Reserve Act, public stock was only to be sold in the event the sale of stock to member banks did not raise the minimum of $4 million of initial capital for each Federal Reserve Bank when they were organized in 1913 (12 USCA 281). Each Bank was able to raise the necessary amount through member stock sales, and no public stock was ever sold to the non-bank public. In other words, no Federal Reserve stock has ever been sold to foreigners; it has only been sold to banks which are members of the Federal Reserve System (Woodward, 1996).

Regardless of the foreign ownership conjecture, Mullins argued that since the money-center banks of New York owned the largest portion of stock in the New York Fed, they could hand-pick its board of directors and president. This would give them, and hence the London Connection, control over Fed operations and U.S. monetary policy. This argument is faulty because each commercial bank receives one vote regardless of its size, unlike most corporate voting structures in which the number of votes is tied to the number of shares a person holds (Ibid). The New York Federal Reserve district contains over 1,000 member banks, so it is highly unlikely that even the largest and most powerful banks would be able to coerce so many smaller ones to vote in a particular manner. To control the vote of a majority of member banks would mean acquiring a controlling interest in about 500 member banks of the New York district. Such an expenditure would require an outlay in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Surely there is a cheaper path to global domination.

An historical example may make clear that member banks do not control the Federal Reserve’s policies. Galbraith (1990) recounted that in the spring of 1929 the New York Stock Exchange was booming. Prices there had been rising considerably, extending the bull market that had begun in 1924. The Federal Reserve Board decided to take steps to arrest the speculative bubble that appeared to have been forming: it raised the cost banks had to pay to borrow from the Federal Reserve and it increased speculators’ margin requirements. Charles Mitchell, then the head of National City Bank (today known as Citibank), which was the largest shareholder of the New York Federal Reserve Bank according to Mullins, was so irritated by this decision that in a bank statement he wrote, “We feel that we have an obligation which is paramount to any Federal Reserve warning, or anything else, to avert any dangerous crisis in the money market” (Galbraith, p. 57). National City Bank promised to increase lending to offset any restrictive policies of the Federal Reserve. Wrote Galbraith, “The effect was more than satisfactory: the market took off again. In the three summer months, the increase in prices outran all of the quite impressive increase that had occurred during the entire previous year” (Ibid). If the Fed and its policies were really under the control of its major stockholders, then why did the Federal Reserve Board clearly buck the intent of its single largest shareholder?

This information also eluded fellow conspiracy theorist Gary Kah, who disagreed with Mullins on who owns the New York Fed. His Swiss and Saudi Arabian contacts identified the top eight shareholders as the Rothschild Banks of London and Berlin; Lazard Brothers Banks of Paris; Israel Moses Seif Banks of Italy; Warburg Bank of Hamburg and Amsterdam; Lehman Brothers of New York; Kuhn, Loeb Bank of New York; Chase Manhatten; and Goldman, Sachs of New York (Kah, p. 13). It is impossible to verify Kah’s information because it is not known who his “contacts” were. Nevertheless, Kah’s list differs substantially from Mullins’ compilation. Most interestingly, in Kah’s list foreigners own the New York Fed directly without having to own majority interests in U.S. banks, as is the case with Mullins’ list. The discrepancies in the two lists mean that at least one of them is wrong, and possibly both. Kah’s list is the bogus one because no public stock has ever been issued, so it is not possible for anyone on Kah’s list other than Chase Manhatten to own shares of the New York Fed.

Moreover, Kah seemed ignorant of important details about the organization of Federal Reserve stock and management, especially for someone claiming to have done as much research on the subject as he did. He referred to the organizations on his stockholders list as “Class A shareholders,” which is curious because Federal Reserve stock is not classified in this manner (Ibid). It can be either member stock, which can be purchased only by commercial banks and thrifts seeking to become members of the Federal Reserve System, or public stock. However, the directors of a Federal Reserve bank are separated into Class A, B, and C categories, depending on how they are appointed (12 USCA 302, 304, 305). Three class A directors are chosen by the member banks. Three class B directors are also elected by the member banks to represent the non-bank sectors of the economy. The final three directors, class C, are picked by the Board of Governors also to represent the non-bank public. This may be the source of Kah’s confusion, but it is a relatively simple point that he should have detected had his research efforts been thorough.

wall stone plaque reading 'Federal Reserve Bank of New York'

Does the New York Fed Call the Shots?

Mullins and Kah further argued that by controlling the New York Fed the international banking elite could command the entire Federal Reserve System, and thus direct U.S. monetary policy for their own profit. “For all practical purposes,” Kah stressed, “the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is the Federal Reserve” (Ibid). This is the linchpin of their conspiracy theory because it provides the mechanism by which the international bankers execute their plans.

A brief look at how the Fed’s powers over monetary policy are actually distributed shows that the key assumption in the Mullins-Kah conspiracy theory is erroneous. The Federal Reserve System is controlled not by the New York Fed, but by the Board of Governors (the Board) and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The Board is a seven member panel appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. It determines the interest rate, known as the discount rate, for loans to commercial banks and thrifts, selects the required reserve ratio which determines how much of customer deposits a bank must keep on hand (a factor that significantly affects a bank’s ability create new loans), and also decides how much new currency Federal Reserve Banks may issue each year (12 USCA 248). The FOMC consists of the members of the Board, the president of the New York Fed, and four presidents from other Fed Banks. The FOMC formulates open market policy, which determines how much in government bonds the Fed Banks may trade, and is the most effective and commonly used of the Fed’s monetary policy tools (12 USCA 263). The key point is that a Federal Reserve Bank cannot change its discount rate or required reserve ratio, issue additional currency, or purchase government bonds without the explicit approval of either the Board or the FOMC.

The New York Federal Reserve Bank through its direct and permanent representation on the FOMC has more say on monetary policy than other Federal Reserve Banks, but it still only has one vote of twelve on the FOMC and no say at all in setting the discount rate or the required reserve ratio. If it wanted monetary policy to go in one direction, while the Board and the rest of the FOMC wanted policy to go another, then the New York Fed would be out-voted. The powers over U.S. monetary policy rest firmly with the publicly-appointed Board of Governors and the Federal Open Market Committee, not with the New York Federal Reserve Bank or a group of international conspirators.

Mullins also made a great to-do about the Federal Advisory Council (the Council). This is a panel of twelve representatives appointed by the board of directors of each Fed Bank. The Council meets at least four times each year with the members of the Board to give them their advice and to discuss general economic conditions (12 USCA 261, 262). Many of the members have been bankers, a point not at all missed by Mullins. He speculated that it is able to force its will on the Board of Governors.

The claim that the “advice” of the council members is not binding on the Governors or that it carries no weight is to claim that four times a year, twelve of the most influential bankers in the United States take time from their work to travel to Washington to meet with the Federal Reserve Board merely to drink coffee and exchange pleasantries (Mullins, p. 45).

A point very much missed by Mullins is that the Council has no voting power in Board meetings, and thus has no direct input into monetary policy. In support of his hypothesis that Council members have been able to impose their will on the Board, Mullins offered no evidence, not even an anecdote. Moreover, his Council theory is inconsistent with his general thesis that the Federal Reserve System is manipulated by European banking interests through their control of the New York Fed. If this were true, then why would they also need the Council?

Who Gets the Fed’s Profits?

Gary Kah and Thomas Schauf have also maintained that the huge profits of the Federal Reserve System are diverted to its foreign owners through the dividends paid to its stockholders. Kah reported “Each year billions of dollars are ‘earned’ by Class A stockholders of the Federal Reserve” (Kah, p. 20). Schauf further lamented by asking, “When are the profits of the Fed going to start flowing into the Treasury so that average Americans are no longer burdened with excessive, unnecessary taxes?”

The Federal Reserve System certainly makes large profits. According to the Board’s 1995 Annual Report, the System had net income totaling $23.9 billion, which, if it were a single firm, would qualify it as one of the most profitable companies in the world. How were these profits distributed? By an agreement between the Board of Governors and the Treasury, nearly all of the Fed’s annual profits are paid to the federal government. Accordingly, a lion’s share of $23.4 billion, which represents 97.9 percent of the Federal Reserve’s net income, was transferred to the Treasury. The Federal Reserve Banks kept $283 million, and the remaining $231 million was paid to its stockholders as dividends.

Given that less than one percent of the Fed’s net earnings are distributed as dividends, it seems that an investor could easily find much more profitable ways to store their wealth than buying Federal Reserve stock. Regarding Schauf’s lamentation, the Federal Reserve System has been paying its profits to the Treasury since 1947.

Conclusion

It does not appear that the New York Federal Reserve Bank is owned, either directly or indirectly, by foreigners. Neither Mullins nor Kah provided verifiable sources for their allegations, nor did their mysterious sources agree on exactly who owns the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Moreover, their central assumption that control of the New York Federal Reserve is the same as control of the whole System is wrong and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the System’s basic organizational structure. The profits of the Federal Reserve System, again contrary to the assertion of Kah and Schauf, are funneled back to the federal government, not to an “international banking elite.” If the U.S. central bank is in the grip of a banking conspiracy, then Mullins and Kah have certainly not uncovered it.


References:

82nd Annual Report, 1995. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. U.S. Government Printing Office.

Galbraith, John K. 1990. A Short History of Financial Euphoria. New York: Whittle Direct Books.

Kah, Gary. 1991. En Route to Global Occupation. Lafayette, La.: Huntington House.

Mullins, Eustace. 1983. Secrets of the Federal Reserve. Staunton, Va.: Bankers Research Institute.

Shauf, Thomas. 1992. The Federal Reserve. Streamwood, IL: FED-UP, Inc.

Woodward, G. Thomas. 1996. “Money and the Federal Reserve System: Myth and Reality.” Congressional Research Service

United States Code Annotated. 1994. U.S. Government Printing Office.


Reprinted with permission.


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Image of row of books at libraryA Gold Classics Library Selection


A Layman’s Guide to Golden Guidelines
for Wise Money Management
Gresham’s Law, Say’s Law, Rule of 72, Marginal Utility, Diminishing Returns, Regression to the Mean, Unintended Consequences, Murphy’s Law, Occam’s Razor, Law of Attraction, Law of Polarity, and more

by R.E. McMaster, former editor of The Reaper newsletter

Ed Stein cartoon graphic of bad money driving good into hiding

There is an old saying that not all that glitters is gold — as in the gold coins many of you have held in your hands. There is another kind of gold that inhabits the practical wisdom of the ages. In today’s “go-get-’em,” “read-it-and-forget-it” world of everyday web browsing, it can be a challenge to separate the run of the mill from the meaningful. It is with that thought in mind we offer this compendium of the rules and laws of finance and investment by long-time market analyst R.E. McMaster. Formerly the writer/editor of the widely-circulated The Reaper newsletter, McMaster is known for his occasional forays into the realm of economic philosophy and history. I think you will agree with me that these skillfully condensed descriptions are indeed meaningful — a wellspring of knowledge worth reading, re-reading and passing along to friends and family, especially the kids and grandkids.

(Illustrations by Ed Stein)

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Britain’s Gold Sales ‘a Reckless Act’
(Sir Peter Tapsell’s speech before the House of Commons, June 16, 1999, on the partial sale of United Kingdom’s gold reserves)

We do not update our Gold Classics Library often, but when we do we try to choose items that have a timeless quality.  This latest selection certainly meets that standard. It comes to us unexpectedly as a by-product of research for the recently published article, The Power of Gold Diversification, and with the kind permission of the United Kingdom Parliamentary Archives.

Photo of Sir Peter Tapsell addressing UK's parliamentMany associate Britain’s sale of nearly 60% of its gold reserves in 1999 with the beginnings of gold’s secular bull market. The government’s rationale for the sale, as explained by then Economic Secretary to the Treasury Patricia Hewitt, was to “achieve a better balance” in its reserves by going to foreign currencies.  Sir Peter Tapsell took the opposite tack.  “The Chancellor [of the Exchequer] may think that he has discovered a new Labour version of the alchemist’s stone,” he argued, “but his dollars, yen and euros will not always glitter in a storm and they will never be mistaken for gold.”

History’s indisputable verdict is that Tapsell was correct and the British government wrong.  The ensuing nearly two decades featured a global financial crisis, low-to-zero-percent interest rates, scrambling central banks, and the consistent depreciation of global currencies against gold. Currencies did not glitter in the storm, and they could not have been mistaken for gold which rose relentlessly from $287 per ounce at the time of his speech to the current price of over $1500 (at one point reaching almost $1900 per ounce in 2011).  Though his speech before the House of Commons failed to stop the sales, it goes down as one of the most eloquent appeals ever made on the merits of gold ownership for nation states and individuals alike.

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Who owns and controls the Federal Reserve
by Dr. Edward Flaherty

“Is the Federal Reserve System secretly owned and covertly controlled by powerful foreign banking interests? If so, how? These claims, made chiefly by authors Eustace Mullins (1983) and Gary Kah (1991) and repeated by many others, are quite serious because the Fed is the United States central bank and controls U.S. monetary policy. By changing the supply of money in circulation, the Fed influences interest rates, affecting the mortgage payments of millions of families, causing the financial markets to boom or collapse, and prompting the economy to expand or to stumble into recession. Such awesome power presumably would be used to benefit the U.S. economy. Mullins and Kah both argued that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is owned by foreigners. Although the New York Fed is just one of twelve Federal Reserve banks, controlling it, they claimed, is tantamount to control of the entire System. Foreigners use their command of the New York Fed to manipulate U.S. monetary policy for their own and, as Kah asserted, to further their global political goals, namely the establishment of the sinister New World Order.” – From the author’s preface.

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A Gold Classics Library Selection


Money and politics in the land of Oz
The extraordinary story behind the extraordinary story of
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”

by Professor Quentin Taylor, Rogers State University

Year in, year out, Money and politics in the land of Oz is among our most highly-visited Gold Classics Library selectionsHere is the extraordinary story behind the extraordinary story of ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’.  Most have seen the movie version of this allegorical tale, but few are aware of what the various characters, places and things represented in the mind of Frank Baum, the tale’s author. Though ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ was written over 100 years ago, the themes will be recognizable to those with an interest in golden matters. While many today consider gold an instrument of financial and personal freedom, in Baum’s tale, it is painted as a villain — the tool of oppression. So, as you are about to see, we have come full circle, and gold has traveled a yellow brick road of its own.

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The Nightmare German Inflation

The surprise is not only the length of time Scientific Market Analysis’ The Nightmare German Inflation has ranked among our most-visited essays, but that it has remained popular even now, when inflation seems a more distant concern. Inflation, though, is never far removed from the minds of many Americans particularly those who remember the inflationary-stagflationary 1970s decade and the dangers it imposed on financial markets and individual investment portfolios. The survivors of the German hyperinflationary debacle of the 1920s did so, as you are about to read, by purchasing gold early in the process. This comprehensive report not only describes how and why the hyperinflation occurred but how various investments performed under those trying circumstances.  There is little doubt it will affect your thinking.

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Gold Seizure
Here’s how it can happen and what you can do about it.

Allow us to make a personal observation and then we will send you on your way to Mr. Ganz’ important and timely analysis. Too many gold owners labor under the false presumption that high-end, high-premium numismatic gold coins are the only way you can protect your holdings against a potential seizure. Many of our prospective clients are pleasantly surprised when they discover that there is a whole genre of pre-1933 gold coins that can be acquired at modest premiums over the gold content and still meet the criteria for exemption Mr. Ganz outlines. As he points out, “rare and unusual” does not necessarily equate to “pricey” or “expensive.” To understand why the words “rare and unusual” are important, we invite you to proceed to the link.

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Fiat Money Inflation in France
How It Came, What It Brought, and How It Ended

Andrew Dickson White ends his classic historical essay on hyperinflation, “Fiat Money Inflation in France,” with one of the more famous lines in economic literature: “There is a lesson in all this which it behooves every thinking man to ponder.” This lesson — that there is a connection between government over-issuance of paper money, inflation and the destruction of middle-class savings — has been so routinely ignored in the modern era that enlightened savers the world over wonder if public officials will ever learn it. In this essay Dickson White explores France’s hyperinflation at the end of the 18th century in exhaustive detail – its politics, its economics and the social consequences which led, in the end, to Napoleon’s rise as emperor.

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