The congressman who wants to end the Federal Reserve, Ron Paul, Republican of Texas, was in New York last night for a dinner with about a dozen journalists. Mr. Paul's proposal to audit the Federal Reserve was included in the financial regulatory overhaul passed by the House last week, and someone at the dinner asked Dr. Paul what he expected the audit would show. The congressman said he'd look for disclosures about the Fed's communications or deals with foreign central banks, and for its dealings with American banks through the discount window. "I don't think anything would be off limits," he said. Despite the House passage and the fact that more than 300 members of Congress have signed on to the audit plan, Dr. Paul was stopping short of declaring a victory. "I have to be as upbeat as I can, but I don't think there'll be a true audit of the Fed," he said.
Dr. Paul also talked up his son Rand Paul's campaign in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat from Kentucky being vacated by Senator Bunning. And he mentioned his Free Competition in Currency Act, which would, among other things, "eliminate laws that prohibit the operation of private mints." In his speech introducing the act, Dr. Paul referred to the November 2007 raid by the FBI and Secret Service on a firm that was issuing a "Liberty Dollar," bearing Dr. Paul's likeness, a raid that was covered extensively back at the time by the New York Sun.
On the subject of the Federal Reserve and monetary policy, Dr. Paul can sometimes sound almost obsessive – "It is the Fed that is the source of our troubles," "the monster is financed by the Fed." But he insisted that for him monetary policy is a secondary issue. "My main issue is personal liberty," he said.
Say or think what you will about Dr. Paul, he certainly brought out the journalistic star power; yesterday's dinner, convened by my former partner in the New York Sun Seth Lipsky, included Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot, his colleague Mary O'Grady, and their former colleague George Melloan; their News Corp. colleages John Stossel, Judge Andrew Napolitano, and Adam Brodsky; and James Grant of Grant's Interest Rate Observer.