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It’s official: Ron Paul to lead House Federal Reserve oversight

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, December 10, 2010 12:01 EDT
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Iconoclastic Texas Republican defends WikiLeaks again, says US response ‘an example of killing the messenger’

The greatest critic of fiat currency perhaps anywhere in the world is about to take control of a congressional panel that would conduct oversight on the US Federal Reserve bank.

This could get interesting.

After November’s Republican electoral wave crashed a Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives, Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) was one of several ardent critics of status-quo thought that GOP leadership thought about empowering.

To stifle Democratic efforts toward meaningful climate change legislation, they vowed to shut down funding for the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. To block new regulations of greenhouse gases, Republicans picked Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who called “poisonous” any attempt at regulation, to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee. And now, to feed their libertarian-leaning base of supporters, Ron Paul is headed to the Fed.

The nomination was made by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), who will lead the House Financial Services Committee in the next Congress. A prior report by Bloomberg noted discussion by aides to incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on how they might be able to prevent Paul’s chairmanship.

Rep. Bachus dispelled any questions as to Paul’s viability for the seat in a Thursday afternoon statement, promising “aggressive oversight” and an audit of the Fed.

“This is the leadership team that crafted the first comprehensive financial reform bill to put an end to the bailouts, wind down the taxpayer funding of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and enforce a strong audit of the Federal Reserve,” he wrote. “By working together, we will honor our commitment to aggressive oversight, reform of the [government-sponsored enterprises], and monitoring the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act to ensure more jobs aren’t lost to unnecessary regulations on community banks and businesses. We are ready to hit the ground running, and I look forward to continuing our work in the next Congress.”

Rep. Paul is one of the few elected Republicans to openly defend secrets outlet WikiLeaks in the wake of secret US diplomatic cables being passed along to the media. “What we need is more WikiLeaks,” he suggested during a recent interview, suggesting that the Fed be targeted by whistleblowers. He’s also a longtime critic of the Fed’s manipulation of America’s fiat currency, arguing that monetary value based on gold markets makes for a more stable economic system.

He’s joined by Florida Republican Rep. Connie Mack, who told Napolitano that focusing on WikiLeaks and not the actions of the government is “a head-fake.”

Most economists consider the position archaic and unwieldy, but he’s not alone in the belief. Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, recently called for a renewed debate on what a global gold standard would mean. He suggested that gold markets were already being used as an alternative currency in the wake of severe financial instability seen across the industrialized world in recent years.

Speaking on the floor of the House yesterday, Paul again defended WikiLeaks to his colleagues.

“The hysterical reaction makes one wonder if this is not an example of killing the messenger for the bad news,” he said, adding that the leaks had caused “no known harm to any individual.”

Paul’s same iconoclastic take on the Fed could cause serious divisions between Republicans, who’ve often defended the nation’s central bank. “I think you’re going to see a significant dispute within the Republican Party,” Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) told Bloomberg. Frank is the senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee and a Paul ally in the push to see an audit of the Fed. “I do not believe that Ron Paul’s views on the Fed represent the views of most Republicans.”

Paul’s “Audit the Fed” bill, HR 1207, passed the House but was side-tracked into committee and had its language stripped out of the Senate’s financial reform legislation. Paul’s bill would have put the Fed’s complete balance sheet under the US Comptroller General’s microscope, but leading Senate Democrats bucked Paul’s bipartisan alliance and effectively let the bank “keep its secrets,” the Texas Congressman said.

Paul’s son Rand was elected last November to become the next Republican US Senator from Kentucky.

This video is from C-Span, broadcast Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010, as snipped by MoxNews.

Updated from a prior version for accuracy.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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