NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke responded to a critical letter from a left-leaning lawmaker by either skirting questions or pointing out their ignorance, depending on one's point of view. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) sent Bernanke a barbed letter on Dec. 6 regarding the Fed's liquidity programs during the financial crisis. A few days earlier, the Fed had
dumped a trove of data related to 21,000 transactions meant to unfreeze credit markets and stimulate economic activity. Last summer, Sanders authored the law that now requires the Fed to reveal such information - against Bernanke's wishes. In his letter, Sanders requested more information on the liquidity programs, which he portrayed as a hand-out for fat cats and foreigners. "While small businesses in the state of Vermont were being turned down for loans, not only did large financial institutions and major corporations receive these ultra-low interest loans, but foreign companies and banks, and some of the wealthiest people in the world also received a major bailout from the Fed," the lawmaker says in his letter. Sanders, a self-described socialist , also called the emergency credit facilities "a clear case of socialism for the rich, and rugged free market capitalism for everyone else." He went on to question apparent conflicts of interest regarding bank executives who also sat on the Fed's regional board of directors; to outline how much money was lent to wealthy individuals, like hedge fund manager John Paulson; and ask the Fed to explain why funds were funneled to foreign companies, foreign banks and non-financial corporations. Though U.S. banks like Bank of America ( BAC), Citigroup ( C), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), Wells Fargo ( WFC), Goldman Sachs ( GS) and Morgan Stanley ( MS) all utilized the Fed facilities, foreign banks represented a surprisingly significant chunk of transactions. Sanders said the questions were based on a preliminary review, adding: "I expect that my office will have further questions once we have had time to dig a little deeper into these approximately 21,000 transactions." Bernanke, who seems to have lost patience with faux niceties that are typically part of his job, didn't really answer any of Sanders' questions directly. Instead, in a six-page response, Bernanke explained how the funding facilities functioned - not for the first time - and hinted that some of the answers were in the data dump, if Sanders had bothered to look.