- The Washington Times - Monday, March 22, 2010

COURTS

Fed told to reveal loans to firms

NEW YORK | The Federal Reserve must reveal documents identifying financial companies that received Fed loans to survive the financial crisis, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

A panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said in two separate opinions that such information isn’t automatically exempt from requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

Cases were brought by News Corp.’s Fox News Network LLC and Bloomberg L.P. The two companies sought details about loans that commercial banks and Wall Street firms received and the collateral they put up. The appeals judges received written arguments on behalf of other news agencies, including the Associated Press.

The Fed argued that if it identified banks that drew emergency loans, it could cause a run on those institutions, undermine the loan programs and potentially hurt the economy.

Lower court judges were split on the issue.

The Federal Reserve said it’s studying Friday’s ruling.

WHITE HOUSE

Status of Liberians extended in U.S.

President Obama is allowing thousands of Liberians living in the U.S. to remain in the country for an additional 18 months.

A presidential memorandum issued Friday applies to Liberians who fled the country amid years of civil war and who are living in the United States under “deferred enforced-departure status.”

Their stay was to have expired on March 31, but Mr. Obama is directing the Department of Homeland Security to extend it by 18 months.

Large enclaves of Liberians live in states including Rhode Island, New York, Minnesota and the Carolinas.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT

Holder hails lawyers for the unpopular

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday defended lawyers who represent unpopular clients like terrorism suspects, saying they are patriots who deserve respect.

Mr. Holder was answering critics who questioned the values of lawyers who once worked on behalf of detainees and are now at the Justice Department. He spoke Friday to a group of private lawyers who provide free legal representation to the poor and others.

The attorney general praised lawyers who defend unpopular clients, although he did not specifically mention terrorism suspects.

The broadside against Justice lawyers who defended detainees came from a conservative Republican group. But the group’s attack has been widely criticized in the legal community, even by some fellow Republicans, as undercutting basic principles of fairness in the legal system.

NEW YORK

Conservatives back Lazio for governor

ALBANY, N.Y. | Leaders of the state Conservative Party are giving their critical backing for governor to former Rep. Rick Lazio.

The endorsement came Saturday at a meeting of the Conservative Party in Brooklyn. State Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long says the Republican Mr. Lazio won the vote by a 5-to-1 margin.

Mr. Lazio is a former congressman from Long Island who lost to Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2000 Senate race.

He faces challenges for the Republican nomination from conservative Democrat Steve Levy and Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino.

No Republican has won statewide office in New York without the Conservative Party endorsement.

VIRGINIA

Thomas’ wife’s group unregistered

RICHMOND | Virginia officials have told the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas that her advocacy group has been improperly soliciting funds.

The state Office of Consumer Affairs said Liberty Central Inc. failed to register with the office, as required by law. The office informed the group’s president, Virginia Thomas, of the violation in a letter Thursday.

Michael Wright, manager of regulatory programs for the consumer affairs office, said Friday that the group’s lawyer has informed him that the paperwork will be filed shortly. Mr. Wright said the conservative advocacy group was not aware of the registration requirement, a problem he said is not unusual.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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