The silliest of the Federal Reserve conspiracy theories is that the
Federal Reserve Act of December 23, 1913 passed illegally. The constitution
stipulates that both the House and the Senate must have at least half their
members present, a quorum, to vote on any bill. According to this myth,
the Senate voted on the Federal Reserve Act (known as the Currency Bill at
the time) deviously in a late night session when most of its members had gone
home or had left town for the holiday. This was done to impose the will
of a pro-banker minority on the objecting majority. Since no quorum was
present, the Federal Reserve Act is not valid.
This idea is better described as folklore than a full-blown conspiracy theory
because I've never been able to find it in print, only on occasion on Usenet
or in e-mail from readers. Gary Kah, author of En Route to Global Occupation,
came close when he wrote that the bill's supporters waited until its opponents
were out of town and it was passed under "suspicious circumstances" (Kah,
p. 13-14). Nevertheless, the myth has no basis in fact. The House
passed the bill 298-60 on the evening of Dec. 22, 1913.3 The
Senate began debate the following day at 10am, and passed it 43-25 at 2:30pm.4
What of the missing Senators? Since there were 48 states in 1913,
forty eight votes plus the tie-breaking vote of vice-President Thomas Marshall
would have been sufficient to approve the bill even if all absent votes had
been cast against the bill. However, many of the missing Senators had
their positions recorded in the Congressional Record.1 Of
the 27 votes not cast, there were 11 'yeas' (in favor of the bill) and 12
'nays.'1 Even if the absentee Senators
had been there, the Currency Bill would have passed easily.
President Wilson signed the Currency Bill into law in an "enthusiastic" public
ceremony on Dec. 23, 1913.4
1. Congressional Record, 63rd Congress, 2nd Session,
Dec. 23, 1913, pp. 1487-1488.
2. Kah, Gary (1991), En Route to Global Occupation, Layfayette,
La.: Huntington Press.
3. "Money bill goes to Wilson today," New York Times, pp.
1-3, Dec. 23, 1913.
4. "Wilson signs currency bill," New York Times, pp. 1-2,
Dec. 24, 1913.