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“These lending activities provided no benefit to American taxpayers, the American economy, or even directly to American banks,” he said.

Paul spokeswoman Rachel Mills said the lawmaker, who advocates abolishing the Fed and returning to a currency backed by gold or silver, is planning a hearing in May on discount window lending. Details are still being worked out, she told Reuters.

Data that the Fed was required by courts to disclose Thursday showed that the U.S. branches of financial firms with foreign headquarters had made extensive use of the central bank’s emergency lending discount window during the financial crisis that froze financial markets in the fall of 2008.

During that period, the Fed actively encouraged financial firms to obtain funding from an array of unusual emergency funding vehicles to prevent markets from freezing entirely.

NEW MEXICO

Rep. Heinrich enters 2012 Senate race

ALBUQUERQUE | Rep. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat, is entering the race in New Mexico for a U.S. Senate seat that is opening next year because of the retirement of five-term Sen. Jeff Bingaman, also a Democrat.

Mr. Heinrich announced his candidacy Saturday in a video emailed to supporters and posted on his Facebook page.

The video showed Mr. Heinrich at his Albuquerque home with his wife and two children. He described his candidacy as “the right thing to do and the best way to advocate for New Mexico.”

The 39-year-old Mr. Heinrich won election to the Albuquerque-area 1st Congressional District in 2008, making him the first Democrat in 40 years to occupy the seat.

Former Rep. Heather Wilson, a Republican, announced her Senate candidacy last month.

Several other Democrats and Republicans are considering the Senate race.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama expected to start campaign

President Obama is about to make one of Washington’s worst-kept secrets official: He wants a second term.

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