Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Despite telling officials otherwise, US presidential hopeful Rand Paul hasn't transferred money for caucus expenses to allow him to run for President and Senate simultaneously-Lexington Herald-Leader

As of 8/18, Sen. Paul staff says he won't be sending promised payment until committee approves his caucus proposal, assuming it does at Saturday meeting:

8/18/15, "Despite telling Republicans otherwise, Rand Paul hasn't transferred money for proposed caucus," Lexington Herald-Leader, Kentucky.com, Sam Youngman

"U.S. Sen. Rand Paul wrote in a letter last week to nearly 350 members of the Republican Party of Kentucky's central committee that he had transferred $250,000 to a state GOP account to cover the initial costs of holding a presidential caucus next year.

But committee members told the Herald-Leader on Tuesday that Paul hasn't provided a dime.

In his letter, which was mailed about a week before the committee is to vote on whether to move forward with the caucus that Paul has requested, Paul wrote that he had already "transferred $250,000 in an RPK account to begin the funding."

"Very little of the funding is needed in August, but I wanted to make sure there was plenty in there as we move forward," Paul wrote.

That is not what happened.

Scott Lasley, chairman of the Warren County Republican Party and the man in charge of a special committee to develop rules for the caucus, said Paul's letter "seems to be creating some confusion" among committee members.

"The letter states that the money has been transferred but was postmarked on the 13th," Lasley said. "As of last Friday, it was my understanding that the money had not yet been transferred."

The money had not been transferred as of Tuesday, and aides to Paul said it won't be until the committee approves the caucus proposal, assuming that it does, when it meets Saturday in Frankfort.

Paul's team declined to explain why the senator claimed that the money had already been transferred, but they insisted that there is $250,000 in a dedicated account that the state party will have access to after the caucus proposal is approved.

Paul, who is performing eye surgeries in Haiti, will spend the latter half of the week trying to reassure skeptical committee members about his plan to pay for the caucus.

"Members of the central committee want to make sure that we are able to do what we think is best for the party and for all Republicans across the state," Lasley said. "It is important that we have all the information that is necessary to make that decision."

Paul has pressed the state party to hold a caucus in an effort to get around a Kentucky law that prohibits a candidate from running for two offices on the same ballot. He wants to run for president
during a caucus in early March and for re-election to his Senate seat during the traditional May primary.

At a Kentucky GOP executive committee meeting in March, Paul persuaded Republicans to give preliminary approval for a caucus, but there have been serious questions raised about how much the undertaking will cost.

Paul and his campaign have said they will make sure state and county parties are not left in the lurch by unexpected costs, but committee members have been waiting to see a financial commitment from Paul.

The proposed caucus, scheduled for March 5, 2016, is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $500,000.

In addition to the $250,000 down payment, Paul pledged in his letter to "raise or transfer" an additional $200,000. Paul also said he expected that $150,000 to $225,000 would be raised by charging every presidential candidate who wants to participate in the caucus a $15,000 filing fee." via Free Rep.



Two on 2015 payroll of Rand Paul super PAC are indicted for bribing Iowa state senator to secure endorsement for Ron Paul run in 2012. Sen. Paul has defended Benton who's also accused of lying to FBI:

8/5/15, "Rand Paul Aide Indicted on Charges of Hiding Payments," NY Times, Alan Rappeport

"A supporter and former close adviser to Senator Rand Paul has been charged with hiding secret payments to secure the endorsement of an Iowa lawmaker during the 2012 presidential campaign of the senator’s father, former Representative Ron Paul, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.

Jesse Benton, who was Ron Paul’s presidential campaign manager, is accused of paying more than $70,000 to Kent Sorenson, a former Iowa state senator, to win his support before the state’s caucuses in 2012. Mr. Sorenson had been backing Representative Michele Bachmann at the time but later switched to support Mr. Paul.

The charges against Mr. Benton are the latest blow to Rand Paul’s campaign, which has struggled to gain traction in the polls and has had fund-raising troubles and staff turmoil.

Mr. Benton had been tapped to run America’s Liberty, a “super PAC” that supports the younger Mr. Paul’s presidential bid. Also charged are John Tate and Dimitrios Kesari, who worked with Mr. Benton on the 2012 campaign.

The three are accused of submitting false expense reports to the Federal Election Commission. Mr. Benton is also accused of lying to the F.B.I.

“When political operatives make under-the-table payments to buy an elected official’s political support, it undermines public confidence in our entire political system,” Leslie R. Caldwell, the assistant attorney general handling the case, said in a statement announcing the charges.

The indictment said that Mr. Benton and his colleagues paid Mr. Sorenson in monthly installments of $8,000. They then concealed the payments as audiovisual campaign expenses, transferring them to a film-production company and then to another company that Mr. Sorenson controlled.

Representatives for Mr. Benton were not available for comment and the Pauls expressed disappointment that such charges would be brought the day before the first Republican presidential debate on Thursday.

“Senator Rand Paul is disappointed that the Obama Justice Department chose to release this just prior to the highly anticipated first Republican presidential debate,” a spokesman for his campaign said. “It certainly appears suspiciously timed and possibly, politically motivated.”

Ron Paul also questioned the timing of the indictment and expressed concern for his former staff members. “My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those involved,” he said in a statement.

Mr. Sorenson surprised the Iowa political world in late 2011 when, hours after attending a campaign event for Mrs. Bachmann, he showed up at a Ron Paul rally to offer his endorsement. He had been Mrs. Bachmann’s Iowa chairman.

“It’s difficult, but it’s the right thing to do because he fights for the values that I hold dear,” he said, explaining that Mr. Paul was the best conservative to take on the Republican establishment.

Mrs. Bachmann accused the Paul campaign of buying Mr. Sorenson’s endorsement at the time, but Mr. Paul’s corner denied the charges, with Mr. Benton suggesting “she doesn’t have a clue.”

Mr. Benton has been far more than a paid political consultant to the Pauls. He is married to Rand Paul’s niece. And until this year — when he stepped away from his role as an informal adviser to the senator’s political operation to run the super PAC — few people in Mr. Paul’s inner circle understood the candidate as well or had so much of his confidence.

As rumors of possible legal troubles swirled around Mr. Benton, Mr. Paul strongly defended his honesty and integrity.

“I don’t think he’s done anything wrong,” the senator told a Kentucky television station last year.

The indictments could raise questions about the durability of Mr. Paul’s campaign as the nominating process gathers pace.

Republicans in Iowa said the charges should not be taken lightly.

I think it impacts him more than just in Iowa,” said Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Iowa Republican Party and a writer for The Iowa Republican. “This isn’t just three guys getting indicted who just happened to work on behalf of your father. This is three members of the Paul Campaign for Liberty political machine that have been indicted. One of which, Mr. Benton, runs a super PAC that is supporting Rand.”

America’s Liberty raised more than $3 million during the first six months of 2015. The super PAC, one of three supporting Mr. Paul’s presidential bid, has paid Mr. Tate close to $40,000 in salary this year, according to Federal Election Commission records. Mr. Benton’s firm, Titan Strategies, has been paid about $60,000.

With the suggestions of wrongdoing persistent, Mr. Benton resigned from the re-election campaign of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky last year amid concern that the case that eventually led to his indictment would become a distraction.

Once a rising political star in Iowa, Mr. Sorenson has seen his fortunes fade since the last election cycle. Last summer he pleaded guilty to concealing payments he received in exchange for his endorsement and for obstructing justice. The Des Moines Register reported last month that he had been arrested on charges of assaulting his wife and becoming aggressive with police officers who tried to apprehend him.

Despite Mr. Sorenson’s endorsement, Mr. Paul came in third place in the Iowa caucuses in 2012, outpacing Mrs. Bachmann. He dropped out of the race five months later."

"Correction: August 5, 2015 
An earlier version of a summary that appeared with this article on the home page of NYTimes.com misstated a position held by Jesse Benton. He was campaign manager for Ron Paul, not Rand Paul, whom he has also advised."


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