Eight co-sponsors of ‘audit the Fed’ bill vote against it without explanation

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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The House of Representatives approved Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul’s “Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2012” by a wide margin in a 327-98 vote Wednesday. But lost in the bipartisan revelry was the fact that eight co-sponsors of the legislation actually voted against it.

Spokesmen for each of these congressmen were contacted by The Daily Caller on Thursday, and none were keen on providing an explanation.

The bill would allow the Government Accountability Office to conduct a thorough audit of the Federal Reserve System, tremendously increasing transparency and accountability, in theory.

All House Republicans voted in favor of the bill, except for New York Rep. Bob Turner. Ninety-seven Democrats — notably including the party’s House leadership — voted against the bill, and 89 Democrats voted in favor.

The eight co-sponsors, all Democrats, that voted against their own legislation not only sponsored the 2012 bill, but each also co-sponsored its 2009 incarnation.

A spokesman for California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark merely informed TheDC, “He did not release a statement,” and declined to explain his about-face.

Spokesmen for the other seven flip-floppers — Lynn Woolsey of California, John Conyers of Michigan, Maurice Hinchey of New York, Jim McDermott of Washington, Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, Steven Rothman of New Jersey and Silvestre Reyes of Texas — did not respond at all.

Woolsey, Hinchey, Reyes and Rothman are not running for re-election. Woolsey was one of eleven original co-sponsors of the 2009 version.

House opponents of the bill argued that it could result in the politicization of the Federal Reserve’s policymaking. “Congress has rightly insulated the Fed from short-term political pressures,” said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat. (SEE ALSO: Kucinich: Federal Reserve ‘acts like it’s some kind of high exalted priesthood’)

The eight House Democrats who switched their stance on the issue without an explanation find themselves in good company, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also pulling off a mystifying pivot.

In 2010 and 1995, Reid boasted that he had tried in vain to pass legislation to audit the Fed. The Nevada senator, however, is now refusing to bring the bill, which would fulfill his self-professed yearning, to a Senate vote.

Like the eight congressmen, Reid has ignored requests for comment.

The 2012 Senate bill is sponsored by Ron Paul’s son, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, and is co-sponsored by 23 Republicans. The 2009 Senate version was introduced by Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and was co-sponsored by several Democrats, including still-serving Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Jim Webb of Virginia and Ron Wyden of Oregon.

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