Yellen, honored for ethics, declares public trust stands behind effectiveness of FRB’s actions

The very effectiveness in setting monetary policy depends on the public’s assured confidence that the Federal Reserve Board acts only in the public interest, the outgoing chairman of the central bank’s board said Tuesday in accepting an honor for ethics in government.

“We must act ethically, and we must demonstrate our ethical standards in ways that leave little room for doubt,” Fed Board Chairman Janet Yellen said in accepting the 2017 Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government (presented at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois in Washington, D.C.).

Yellen shared the 2017 award with former Fed Chairman Benjamin Bernanke. The annual award, presented annually by the University of Illinois, is conferred on a person (or persons) whose public actions, writings or other contributions have made a significant contribution to the practice and understanding of ethical behavior and fair play in government.

The Fed chairman said she shared the view of the namesake of award – the late Sen. Paul Douglas (D-Ill.), who was also an economist, like Yellen — that behaving ethically is both the right thing to do and, in practical terms, helps maintain the trust the public places in those who act on its behalf.

She added that she was grateful for “the example Paul Douglas set for ethics in government that has guided countless public officials since his day and also shaped the public’s expectation that its leaders will put the public’s interests first.”

Yellen remarks accepting the 2017 Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government