June 29, 2009
He may have faded from the national political scene a year ago, after his dark-horse presidential run came to naught, but Rep. Ron Paul ’s influence is still being felt in campaigns and policy debates across the country. Indeed, the latest legislative priority of the libertarian Texas Republican — auditing the Federal Reserve — has gained support in unlikely quarters.
Paul’s legislation, popularly known as the “Audit the Fed” bill, has drawn 244 cosponsors, ranging from Ohio’s John A. Boehner , the conservative Republican floor leader, to Michigan’s John Conyers Jr. , the liberal Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Some Democrats have even picked up on Paul’s rhetoric. “It’s time to yank the shroud off the Fed and shine some light on these events,” New York Democrat Edolphus Towns , chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said at a hearing last week about the shotgun marriage between Bank of America and Merrill Lynch last fall to stave off the latter’s collapse.
Paul’s efforts have only gained in political significance since the Obama administration unveiled its proposal to give the Fed new powers over the financial regulatory system.
At the heart of Paul’s anti-Fed crusade, as well as his other ventures, is the grass-roots lobbying organization Campaign for Liberty, a home base for his fervent band of presidential supporters. The organization was launched just over a year ago with cash left over from his bid for the GOP nomination. The 501(c)4 non-profit group claims a quarter-million members and says it has 20 full-time employees and coordinators in all 50 states.