Ron Paul, Fed Critic, to Lead Fed Oversight Panel

After years of seeming like an oddball in his party, the libertarian-leaning Republican is finally in fashion: the Tea Party movement has embraced his limited government philosophy (as well as Paul's son Rand, the newly-minted Kentucky GOP Senator), and ideas once seen as outside the GOP mainstream (Audit the Fed!) suddenly have traction. Still, despite the passionate following Paul attracts, his appeal seems to remain relatively limited. More Coverage on Ron Paul AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, one of the most outspoken critics of the Federal Reserve, will lead a congressional panel next year with oversight over the central bank.

Paul, who wrote a book entitled "End the Fed," told Bloomberg Television in an interview this morning that he will "not really, not right up front" push for an end to the Fed.

"But obviously that's the implication," he added. Paul said he will first focus on oversight.

When Republicans take over the House next year, Paul will chair the House Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee, which is part of the Financial Services Committee. Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama, chairman-elect of the Financial Services Committee, announced the new leaders of the committee yesterday.

"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 said in a statement. "By working together, we will honor our commitment to aggressive oversight, reform of the GSEs, and monitoring the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act to ensure more jobs aren't lost to unnecessary regulations on community banks and businesses."

In his new role, Paul will have jurisdiction over issues such as domestic monetary policy, currency, precious metals and valuation of the dollar.

Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve managed to fend off a bipartisan effort led in part by Paul to open up its internal deliberations to congressional audits. On CBSNews.com's "Washington Unplugged" in March, Paul said, "it's irresponsible to ignore what the Fed does in secrecy."

"I think the irresponsibility falls on the Congress for ignoring the Fed," he added. "We're derelict in our duties. Congress has a cozy relationship with the Fed."

Paul's scrutiny of the Fed has bolstered his libertarian credentials in the eyes of his supporters. On Wednesday, a coalition of about 30 Tea Party-aligned groups wrote a letter to Bachus and incoming House Speaker John Boehner in support of Paul's appointment to chair the financial subcommittee, the Washington Post reports. The letter came after reports that GOP leaders may have given the chairmanship to someone else because of Paul's views.



Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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