Henry Gonzalez, D-Tex., chairman of the House Banking Committee, said last week before Congress adjourned that he wants Federal Reserve officials to start videotaping their closed-door meetings to set monetary policy.

Gonzalez said the Fed "must shed its traditional policy of secrecy" and the deliberations of the Federal Open Market Committee must be made more open to public scrutiny. He suggested a videotape be made of each FOMC meeting and released 60 days later.

The idea is unlikely to win friends at the Fed, where officials huddle in secret to review the economy and interest rates.

The current practice is to release a sanitized version of the minutes of each FOMC meeting on the Friday after the next meeting. Because the group meets eight times a year, the minutes typically surface in public about six weeks after each meeting.

Gonzalez said in a press release that videotaping the FOMC sessions would mean "the rumor and leak industry would be sharply curtailed" and financial markets would be better served with correct information.

Gonzalez also said he has asked the presidents of the 12 Federal Reserve District Banks to provide him with information on employee salaries and perks, including subsidized moving expenses and free cars.

Fed spokesman Bob Moore said the Fed had no comment.

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