WASHINGTON - Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez, the House Banking Committee's senior Democrat, intensified his outspoken criticism of the Federal Reserve on Tuesday.

The latest attack came in a letter to Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan criticizing the central bank for failing to provide the Texas Democrat with documents concerning its check transport system.

"I am very concerned about the failure of the Federal Reserve to comply with this request," Rep. Gonzalez wrote. "Your staff has refused to provide any reasonable explanation for the delay and has been unwilling to specify an expected date for the transmittal of the documents."

In an earlier March 30 letter to Mr. Greenspan, Rep. Gonzalez said that the Fed refused to hand over the documents because the lawmaker had not requested them in writing.

Since last summer, Rep. Gonzalez has been looking into allegations that the Fed awarded courier contracts without competitive bidding. He has also been investigating labor disputes with Pony Express Courier Corp., a company the Fed uses to carry canceled checks.

In the latest letter, Rep. Gonzalez also suggested that the Fed delayed the fulfillment of his requests because the agency had hired a law firm to look into the problems with the check transport system. The lawmaker requested details of the billing arrangements with the outside counsel.

Fed spokesman Joseph Coyne declined to comment on the letter.

Compiled by American Banker's Washington bureau

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