NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Ron Paul may be famous for wanting to end the Federal Reserve, return to the gold standard and criticizing the banking industry at every opportunity, but his presidential campaign appears to have at least one donor from every one of six largest U.S. banks and securities dealers.
Among these is William McDavid, general counsel at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) until his retirement in 2006, who has given Paul's campaign $2,500, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
"I don't think he's my first choice for president, in fact, but I do like a lot of his libertarian ideas and I think it's valuable for the whole political process and for the country for him to be out there as a champion of those ideas," McDavid said in an interview.Paul's tax proposals are one of the attractions for McDavid. "I like the idea of a flat, consumption-based tax rather than income tax and certainly rather than graduated income tax," McDavid says. Unlike Paul, however, McDavid does not want to end the Fed. "I have a tremendous respect for the Fed. I found in general when I was dealing with them that they were extraordinarily professional, extraordinarily competent: the best example of public service that I know of. That doesn't mean I agree with every decision they ever made, but as a general matter I think it's an outstanding organization," McDavid says. McDavid supports the quantitative easing policies the Fed has undertaken, though he believes non-bank mortgage lenders -- especially Countrywide Financial, prior to its acquisition by Bank of America (BAC) in 2008 -- were inadequately regulated. "What I'm not sure about is exactly what authority the Fed had to regulate those organizations. I have the impression from afar -- not having ever been responsible for this question, because I always worked in a bank, not a non-bank --that they did have the authority to regulate the non-bank mortgage lenders and obviously whoever did, if anybody did have such authority, failed," he says. McDavid also believes the public antipathy toward the banking industry is misplaced. "I believe the financial crisis which gets blamed on the banks is really the responsibility primarily of Congress because of their policy to promote homeownership to such an extent that really banks were pressured into making loans to people who couldn't afford the houses they were buying and that that policy as it accumulated and evolved over 30 to 40 years eventually got us to the bubble that burst in 2007," he says.
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