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Lawmakers' committee assignments and industry investments overlap

Rep. Ron Paul, on a panel that deals with monetary policy, has invested in gold-mining firms.
Rep. Ron Paul, on a panel that deals with monetary policy, has invested in gold-mining firms. (Bill Clark - Roll Call/getty Images)
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Over the years, his investments in gold and related metal-mining have grown, according to his disclosure records. In 2004, he reported holdings in Goldcorp, Barrick Gold, Glamis Gold and Iamgold, worth $300,000 to $730,000. By 2007, he reported owning $768,000 to $1.7 million, with up to $1 million in Goldcorp alone.

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The disclosure records for 2008 show that Paul reported $600,000 to $1.46 million in holdings in gold and metal-mining.

Paul serves as the top Republican on the Financial Services subcommittee on domestic monetary policy and technology. He said his personal holdings do not conflict with his policy advocacy because everyone has a right to look out for his own interests. He said his gold investments are logical and consistent with his views that the dollar will lose value because it's not backed up by anything.

"It's protection against the devaluation of the dollar," he said. "Everybody invests out of self-interest. That's not a story."

Paul played down the idea of creating additional rules to curb congressional investing, saying that lawmakers who wanted to could find a way around them. "The only way to deal with this is to put people in office with character," he said.

He said the real solution would be to cut government's influence over the private sector, making it harder for congressional decisions to have an impact on the markets.

"Government is so involved in everything we do in this economy," he said. "The only solution is getting the government out of things it should not be doing."

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