When GATA got started in January 1999 we figured that the rigging we saw in the gold and silver markets was the work of the big investment banks that heavily traded the monetary metals on the futures exchanges. Our idea was to gather evidence of their collusion and then sue them for triple damages under the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act, and the anti-trust laws of the 50 states.

Before long we realized that the U.S. government and allied governments were heavily involved in this rigging, just they had rigged the gold market in the era of the gold standard and the London Gold Pool of the 1960s, and that these governments likely were using the investment banks as brokers for manipulative interventions. So then we aimed to sue these governments as well and we hired a major anti-trust law firm to research the prospect.

The advice from our lawyers was not encouraging. If the U.S. government was the main instigator of the market rigging, the lawyers said, it probably was legal under the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, which created the U.S. Treasury Department's Exchange Stabilization Fund and authorized it to trade not just gold but anything deemed by the treasury secretary to bear on the stability of the dollar. The act authorized the fund to do such trading in secret, making it reportable only to the president.