Meetings of the Board of Governors, typically held twice a month, cover the regulatory, monetary policy, and other responsibilities of the central bank. The Board conducts its meetings in compliance with title 5, section 552b, of the U.S. Code, known as the Government in the Sunshine Act. The public is welcome to attend all meetings except those that the Board determines should be closed under legal exemptions defined in the Sunshine Act.
This guide describes the procedures that the Board follows for open and closed meetings. Specific exemptions in the Sunshine Act that allow closed meetings are listed at the end of this document. Additional information is available from the Board's Public Affairs Office and Freedom of Information Office.
Notice of Open Meetings
For a 24-hour tape-recorded announcement about open meetings, please call (202) 452-3206. For additional information about agenda items, you may call the Public Affairs Office at (202) 452-2955 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Summary Agenda
The Discussion Agenda
Open meetings generally begin at 10:00 a.m. at the Federal Reserve Board, Marriner S. Eccles Building (map, 32 KB PDF). Persons attending an open meeting receive an agenda summarizing the matters to be considered and supporting memoranda for each item if available. Nameplates on the Board table identify the Board members.
If you plan to attend an open meeting, please notify us several days before the meeting date and provide your name, date of birth, and social security number or passport number. You may provide this information by calling (202) 452-2474 or you may register on line. You may pre-register until close of business the day before the meeting.
Attendees should use the visitors entrance to the Eccles building, which is on 20th Street between Constitution Avenue and C Street, N. W. Before admittance, you will be asked to provide identifying information, including a photo ID. The Public Affairs Office must approve the use of cameras; please call 202-452-2955 for further information.
Privacy Act Notice: Providing the information requested is voluntary; however, failure to provide your name, date of birth, and social security number or passport number may result in denial of entry to the Federal Reserve Board. This information is solicited pursuant to Sections 10 and 11 of the Federal Reserve Act and will be used to facilitate a search of law enforcement databases to confirm that no threat is posed to Board employees or property. It may be disclosed to other persons to evaluate a potential threat. The information also may be provided to law enforcement agencies, courts and others, but only to the extent necessary to investigate or prosecute a violation of law.
Information Available during and after Open Meetings
Items in these categories fall into one of two types: "recorded" (that is, tape recorded) and "expedited."
A meeting to consider only recorded items generally requires an advance public notice of one week; a meeting to consider only expedited items requires a notice at the earliest practicable time, usually two business days before the meeting. A meeting to consider a combination of recorded and expedited items requires both types of notices.
Advance notice of recorded items. The Federal Register carries the Board's notices of meetings to consider recorded items. Copies of the notices are generally also available a week before the meeting from the Board's Freedom of Information and Public Affairs offices, the Treasury Department Press Room, and the Board's web site.
The notices give the subject matter of the recorded items, the time and place of the meeting, and the name and telephone number of the official designated to handle inquiries about the meeting.
An additional notice in the Board's Freedom of Information Office cites the applicable exemptions and reasons for closing an item; gives the names of those expected to attend the discussion of that item; and lists the vote of each Board member regarding the decision to close the discussion.
Subsequent notices also indicate, as necessary, any change in the time of a meeting, any deletion or addition of an item, and any change in the open/closed status of an item.
Availability of recordings. After a meeting that includes recorded items, the Board's Freedom of Information Office makes available a full audio cassette recording of the discussion except the portions, if any, that the Board has determined are exempted from release. Audio material initially withheld may be released at a later date when its exempted status no longer applies.
The audio recordings, which give the names of speakers as they speak, are available for use in the Board's Freedom of Information Office and may be purchased at $6 per copy.
Other information available after a meeting. Besides the recording, other information is available in the Board's Freedom of Information Office after a meeting that includes recorded items:
Advance notice of expedited items. An advance notice of a meeting on expedited items, issued usually two business days ahead, shows the date and place of the meeting, the name and telephone number of the official designated to handle inquiries about the meeting, and the items expected to be considered.
The notices are available from the Board's Freedom of Information and Public Affairs offices, the Treasury Department Press Room, and the Board's web site.
Bank and bank holding company applications included on these notices are listed on a 24-hour tape-recorded announcement at (202) 452-3206.
Information available after meetings that include expedited items. A final notice, issued at the end of the meeting, gives the time the meeting started, the exemptions applicable to the closing of each item, the vote by the Board members to close the meeting, and the name and telephone number of the official designated to handle requests for information about the meeting.
Except for items closed under exemption 4, the Board keeps minutes of expedited items rather than recordings. The minutes describe all matters discussed and any views expressed on them, summarize any actions taken and the reasons for them, and note the results of any vote. Minutes or portions of minutes initially withheld may be released when their exempted status no longer applies.
The minutes, other than portions exempted from release under the Sunshine Act, are available for inspection in the Board's Freedom of Information Office and may be copied there for ten cents per page.
Besides minutes, other information is available in the Board's Freedom of Information Office after a meeting on expedited items:
Delegation of Authority
For additional information about these exemptions, please consult the Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. section 552b) and the Board's Rules Regarding Public Observation of Meetings, 12 C.F.R. part 261b.
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Last update: November 6, 2002