Rand Paul's Views On Wall Street Make Him Stand Out In The Republican Arena
In a Tuesday announcement, Sen. Rand Paul said he would run for president in 2016, and Republicans added a second candidate to what is expected to be a crowded bench ready to play for the party's nomination. But the GOP establishment views a potential President Paul as a dangerous threat to its long-standing relationship with Wall Street — and its money, according to Politico. Paul's views on Wall Street could make his presidential bid more difficult, as financiers' dollars get funneled to other candidates.
Paul — son of former congressman Ron Paul who ran for the Republican Party's presidential nominations in 2008 and 2012 — has somewhat adopted his father's libertarian views. Paul promotes the idea of a smaller government and decrease in federal spending but has detracted on other issues from his father. For example, Paul has previously supported military spending and U.S. intervention overseas, which has helped expand his visibility to voters outside his core base. When it comes to Wall Street, Paul has attempted to distinguish himself from his Republican rivals by blasting the financial industry. Last year at the Freedom Summit in New Hampshire, the Kentucky senator said the Republican Party needed to broaden its appeal beyond Wall Street types.
With 30 co-sponsors, Paul reintroduced the "Audit the Fed" bill in January, which aims to make the Federal Reserve more transparent by subjecting its monetary policy decisions to a full congressional audit. His desire to audit the Federal Reserve plays largely to his core libertarian voter base, a key group that Paul needs to secure a Republican nomination. In an op-ed for conservative news site Breitbart, Paul argued for more oversight of the Federal Reserve, which he said has long been too chummy with Wall Street, especially after it helped bail out banks during the financial crisis of 2008.
Opponents to Rand's bill, such as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, say the proposal would put undue political pressure on the central bank and undermine its independence. Paul's critics also say the Republican's rhetoric conveniently leaves out important facts. In February, Politico reported that Paul relied on faulty facts when preaching about auditing the Federal Reserve. The central bank already undergoes a number of audits conducted by the Government Accountability Office, its inspector general, and outside firms such as Deloitte & Touche.
In private, Paul has reportedly courted Wall Street donors as he starts to reach out to more traditional voters. But because a congressional audit of the Federal Reserve has become the driving issue in Paul's political career, other potential presidential hopefuls, such as Jeb Bush, are already benefiting from Wall Street Republicans' money — even though Bush has yet to officially announce his candidacy.
Images: Getty Images (2)