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Putting their money where their mouths, committees and position papers are

Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Dan Keating had a great story today looking at lawmakers who heavily invest in the sectors they regulate or advocate. Ron Paul, for instance, is both leading a political movement based on increasing the value of gold and investing millions of dollars into gold-mining operations. If Paul wants to get rich, there are better ways of doing it than running quixotic political campaigns, but it's still a bit weird: It inflicts needless damage on his own credibility. And Paul isn't alone, as you can see in this graphic The Post whipped up to go along with the story.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 14, 2010; 4:31 PM ET
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Well, it does seem to suggest that Al Gore really believes in green tech, if he's putting his money into it. Either way seems to harm credibility. If you think gold is so great, Mr. Paul, then why don't you have any of your own money in gold, hmmm?

Although it would be easier to answer, if the answer was just: look, I'd love to own gold, but it's against the law. Although how you'd make it against the law for people in congress not to invest in anything that might appreciate in value tangentially to government legislation in some way . . . that would be awfully tricky.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 14, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

That's a very nice interactive graph. We're in a golden, Tuftian age of data presentation. I'd love to see the mirror chart showing how much the relevant industries donate to each members campaigns. It's a two way street (or superhighway in some cases).

Posted by: jeirvine | June 14, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Ron Paul was criticized by Ron Insanea of CNBC for his alleged lack of economic knowledge. Of Course , Ron is now back at CNBC after his hedge fund failed. Mr. Paul has $1.7 million in precious metal assets. Mr. Paul is probably a long time investor in this area. therefore his return on his investment is probably in triple digits. So who is the economic dummy here? Ronnie or Paul?

Posted by: ejhickey | June 14, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

"Ron Paul, for instance, is both leading a political movement based on increasing the value of gold..."

This statement is misleading. He's betting the value of the dollar will go down with his investments because of his Chicago School economic philosophy which states that expanding of the money supply would create a devalued dollar. Going back on the gold standard, in the unlikely event this were to ever happen, the value of his mining investments would go down because the price would then reflect the real hard price of the asset, rather than the inflated price that occurs from the sale of paper substitutes for gold sold through derivatives, futures, pooled accounts, ETFs, gold certificates etc. From that point, the price of gold and the price of the dollar would be one, and the mining stocks he invests in would no longer represent a speculation against the dollar.

Posted by: DABOOTO15 | June 15, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone get that if Ron Paul Had his way he would lose money on his gold investment?

Having a non fiat based system would hold the price of gold down. It would also save all of us middle class from the elitists being able to give their friends our money at 0% interest and then lend it back to our government at 3% or us at 8% or higher.

That is the reason the biggest gap in wealth since the pharaohs (5,000 years ago) is now. We allowed them to take all the value out of our currency and pay us by the hour while they get paid a precentage of all those hundreds of billions of dollars that the fed prints out of thin air.

Think about.

Posted by: mike210523 | June 15, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, you're wrong, and here's why:

If Ron Paul wanted to increase the value of gold, he would be going along with the Democrats and spending tens of billions of dollars.

If we went on a gold standard, Paul's investments -- as well as anyone else who invested in gold -- would suffer.

That's not a conflict of interest. That's self-interest.

Posted by: MooseOfReason | June 15, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

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