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Rep. Ron Paul's Bill to Audit the Federal Reserve 'Gutted' in Committee

Adam Summers
November 2, 2009, 2:03pm

A WorldNetDaily story reports that the bill sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) that would call for an audit of the Federal Reserve has been "gutted" in a congressional committee. The legislation, H.R. 1207, would also close loopholes that prevent transparency of Fed actions. It currently has over 300 co-sponsors in the House.

In a telephone interview with a Bloomberg reporter, Paul said that the bill had been stripped of measures closing loopholes that protect the Fed and blamed Rep. Melvin "Mel" Watt (D-NC), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology, for ripping the teeth out of the legislation. Watt has significant ties to the banking industry and received the largest share of his 2008 campaign contributions—over one-third of his total contributions for the cyclefrom the finance, insurance, and real estate industry. Watt's four largest contributors were Bank of America, headquartered in Watt's district in Charlotte, Wachovia Corp., American Express, and the American Bankers Association.

Paul vowed to try to restore the gutted provisions of the bill through an amendment when it comes to the House floor for a vote.

The veil of secrecy that shrouds the Fed has only made it more mysterious, and monetary policy that much more complex and obscure, to the average American taxpayer. Political discourse over subjects like deficits and inflation tends to focus on fiscal policy, but this is only one half of the equation. It is time for more people to ask why the Fed should have a government-granted monopoly for the creation of money and what it does with its powers to alter the value of money and interest.

Below is an excerpt of the WND article quoting Rep. Paul on some of his criticisms of the Fed:

Paul long has been a critic of the secrecy of the Federal Reserve.

"Throughout its nearly 100-year history, the Federal Reserve has presided over the near-complete destruction of the United States dollar," he said earlier. "Since 1913, the dollar has lost over 95 percent of its purchasing power, aided and abetted by the Federal Reserve's loose monetary policy."

"Since its inception, the Federal Reserve has always operated in the shadows, without sufficient scrutiny or oversight of its operations," Paul said when the plan to audit the Fed was introduced. "While the conventional excuse is that this is intended to reduce the Fed's susceptibility to political pressures, the reality is that the Fed acts as a foil for the government. Whenever you question the Fed about the strength of the dollar, they will refer you to the Treasury, and vice versa. The Federal Reserve has, on the one hand, many of the privileges of government agencies, while retaining benefits of private organizations, such as being insulated from Freedom of Information Act requests."

Paul has warned, "The Federal Reserve can enter into agreements with foreign central banks and foreign governments, and the GAO is prohibited from auditing or even seeing these agreements. Why should a government-established agency, whose police force has federal law enforcement powers, and whose notes have legal tender status in this country, be allowed to enter into agreements with foreign powers and foreign banking institutions with no oversight? Particularly when hundreds of billions of dollars of currency swaps have been announced and implemented, the Fed's negotiations with the European Central Bank, the Bank of International Settlements, and other institutions should face increased scrutiny, most especially because of their significant effect on foreign policy. If the State Department were able to do this, it would be characterized as a rogue agency and brought to heel, and if a private individual did this he might face prosecution under the Logan Act, yet the Fed avoids both fates."


Adam Summers is Senior Policy Analyst


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