NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Federal Reserve lost more ground on Friday in its ongoing battle over transparency -- a battle it may have to lose to gain additional powers over financial markets and consumer protection. Media outlets have been in legal battle with the Fed for months, suing the central bank to disclose more information about how it lends. A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a lower court's decision that would force the Fed to release documents outlining which ordinary banks access its "last resort" funding programs, like the discount window, and how such loans are structured. Several publications and broadcasters joined in an effort spearheaded by Bloomberg to extract such information from the Fed. At the same time, the public has grown more cynical about the government's use of taxpayer funds, largely due to enormous bank bailouts that haven't seemed to help the average consumer very much. A Rasmussen poll last July showed that 75% of Americans support auditing the Fed and publicly disclosing results. The next month, in an online Q&A sponsored by The Wall Street Journal and Digg, the most popular questions among Web users had to do with auditing the Fed. Months later, House lawmakers passed a bill which would do just that -- an auditing effort championed by Rep. Ron Paul (R., Texas). Paul is perhaps the most vocal and longtime critic of the Federal Reserve, and seems to hope that auditing the central bank will serve his ultimate goal of abolishing it entirely. The Fed argues that disclosing information about its lending programs would put banks' fate in the hands of negative perception: If the Fed discloses which banks request emergency loans, those banks will be perceived as weak. Other banks won't want to do business with them, nor will their customers, and whatever problems they may have will be exacerbated, potentially causing a collapse. Yet at the same time, the Fed is lobbying for more power to regulate the financial industry, as part of an overhaul of bank regulation. A proposal recently outlined by Sen. Chris Dodd (D., Conn.) would house a consumer-protection agency within the Fed's wings, and allow the Fed to oversee systemic risk and dismantle the largest and most complex institutions if the time came.