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Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, said on Tuesday he is stepping down immediately after acknowledging that he confirmed confidential information to an analyst.
Mr Lacker had previously announced plans to leave, which was due to happen in October, but said in a statement that “in light of these matters I have decided to make my departure from the Federal Reserve effective today.”
Mr Lacker’s attorney said in a separate statement that the outgoing Fed president will not be facing any charges. The Fed’s office of inspector general said in a statement that it will be concluding its probe into allegations regarding the disclosure.
The analyst in question was working for Medley Global Advisors, which is owned by the Financial Times Ltd.
The call at issue took place in October 2012 and concerned a policy option under consideration prior to the Federal Open Market Committee’s September 2012 meeting, Mr Lacker said in a statement. He said he was interviewed about the conversation both as part of an internal review by the FOMC’s general counsel several months after the call took place, and again in 2015 as part of a separate investigation conducted by the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, the Fed’s office of inspector general, the FBI and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Mr Lacker said:
“I have always strived to maintain the appropriate balance between transparency and confidentiality, but I regret that in this instance I crossed the line to confirming information that should have remained confidential.”
Medley said in a statement that it is “a journalistic organization that publishes in-depth macro policy coverage and analysis. Like all other journalistic organizations, reporting necessarily requires working with sources.”
The Richmond Fed said in a statement that Mr Lacker — who has served this year as a non-voting alternate member on the policy-setting FOMC, and is generally seen as leaning in a hawkish direction — will be replaced in an acting capacity by first vice-president Mark Mullinix.
“The Federal Reserve places a high priority on safeguarding information. We expect every employee to comply with all relevant policies and procedures, as well as our standards of conduct. Employees must review and acknowledge our policies annually. Once our Bank’s Board of Directors learned of the outcome of the government investigations, they took appropriate actions.
We are focused on moving forward within our organization—and were already underway with our presidential search, following Jeffrey Lacker’s announcement in January to retire in 2017.”
The Federal Reserve said in a statement that it was committed to maintaining the confidentiality of FOMC information. “We cooperated fully with the independent law enforcement investigation into an unauthorized disclosure in 2012,” the central bank said in a statement. “We appreciate the diligent efforts made to bring this matter to its conclusion.”