Paul calls for probe into Fed 'lobbying' of Congress

Paul calls for probe into Fed 'lobbying' of Congress
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Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulKaine says he has votes to pass Iraq War repeal in Senate Overnight Defense: Senate panel votes to scrap Iraq war authorizations | Police officer fatally stabbed outside Pentagon ID'd | Biden admin approves first Taiwan arms sale Senate panel votes to repeal Iraq war authorizations MORE (R-Ky.) is calling for a formal investigation into the Federal Reserve’s interactions with Congress.

The Fed critic and Republican presidential candidate sent a letter Tuesday to the Fed’s Office of the Inspector General (IG), requesting a probe into whether the central bank engaged in “improper or illegal lobbying” of Congress.

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Paul argued that as a government entity, the Fed should not use its funds to lobby members of Congress, and asked for details on how much the central bank spends on public relations, lobbying, and conferences, travel and other entertainment.

The requested examination marks the latest in a contentious relationship between Paul and the Fed. The son of former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who built his political reputation on criticizing the Fed, Rand Paul has pushed legislation to fully subject the Fed’s monetary policy deliberations to independent government review.

Fed officials past and present have criticized such legislation, arguing it would subject the independent central bank to undue political pressure, rendering it less effective. The Fed is also quick to point out that outside of private monetary policy discussions, nearly all of its other operations are already subjected to outside audits.

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen, usually circumspect on telling Congress what to do on other matters, has criticized the legislation whenever she is asked about it.

But Paul argued in his letter to the Fed IG that the central bank’s efforts amount to fighting against efforts to “bring greater transparency and accountability” to the institution.

Paul announced earlier this month he was also introducing legislation that would bar the Fed from lobbying the Congress on Fed-related legislation.