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Ron Paul's last hurrah: a big, bipartisan vote to 'Audit the Fed'

Today's vote marks a high point for Paul, who is retires at the end of the year. His signature bill requires a full audit of the Federal Reserve – a move that critics, including Fed chair Ben Bernanke, dub 'nightmarish.'

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Rep. Ron Paul (R) of Texas questions Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke (not pictured) during his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill in this July 21, 2009, file photo.

Richard Clement/Reuters/File

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Ron Paul’s last legislative ride in Congress was a resounding victory: His bill to require more extensive auditing of the Federal Reserve swept to passage in a bipartisan vote Wednesday afternoon, 327 to 98. Eighty-nine Democrats sided with all but one of the chamber’s Republicans on the measure.

Representative Paul, the Texas libertarian and three-time presidential candidate, is a longtime skeptic of the nation’s central bank and has put Audit the Fed, as the legislation is colloquially known, as his attempt at reining in the central bank’s power. There's little appetite on Capitol Hill to do what Mr. Paul would ultimately prefer – that is, to end the Fed altogether.

“The whole idea that they can deal in trillions of dollars and know that nobody is allowed to ask them a question is a moral hazard,” Paul said after the vote. “And this removes that moral hazard.”

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