By Mark A. Calabria
With Republicans taking control of the House in January, long-time Federal Reserve critic Rep. Ron Paul is in line to take over chairmanship of the House Financial Service Committee’s Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology. This is the subcommittee with direct oversight of the Federal Reserve.
The thought of having some actual oversight of the Fed is apparently making Wall Street and the rest of the banking industry nervous. Recent disclosures of Fed lending to foreign banks and Wall Street did not help the public image of either Wall Street or the Fed. With Congressman Paul pushing for a full audit of the Fed, it is likely even dirtier secrets of the Fed may come to light.
So where have the Fed and Wall Street turned for protection? According to Bloomberg, the Fed’s new protector might be incoming House Speaker John Boehner. Next week, House Republicans meet to select their committee and subcommittee chairs. Bloomberg sources report that, at the request of the major banks, Boehner is looking for avenues to either deny Paul that subcommittee chair or to restrict his ability to oversee the Fed.
While I always expected the House Republicans to eventually revert back to their old ways, I did think they’d at least wait until 2011. I believe this will be a real test of Boehner: Does he choose to rein in Ron Paul or rein in the Federal Reserve?