All of a sudden, Congress is paying close attention to Ron Paul. The feisty congressman from Texas, whose insurgent "Ron Paul Revolution" presidential campaign rankled Republican leaders last year, now has the GOP House leadership on his side -- backing a measure that generated paltry support when he first introduced it 26 years ago. Paul, as of Tuesday, has won 245 co-sponsors to a bill that would require a full-fledged audit of the Federal Reserve by the end of 2010. Paul attracted just 18 co-sponsors when he authored a similar bill, which died, in 1983. While the impact Fed policies have on inflation is once again a concern, fears about loose monetary policy and excessive federal spending appear even more widespread in 2009. "In the past, I never got much support, but I think it's the financial crisis obviously that's drawing so much attention to it, and people want to know more about the Federal Reserve," Paul told FOXNews.com.
"I think if we can get that much attention on this bill, I don't believe senators could vote against it, if people knew what they were voting for because everyone is suspicious of the Federal Reserve," DeMint said. Paul's underlying goal is to abolish the Federal Reserve, which he finds contemptible. "I blame almost everything on the Fed because they create the bubbles, they create the credit," Paul said. But the move to require an audit, which Paul described as "neutral," puts him a bit more in the congressional mainstream. "The whole process is unconstitutional. There is no legal authority to operate such a monetary system," Paul said in February, in a statement calling for Washington to "end the Fed." He introduced the Federal Reserve Transparency Act the following day.