A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rand Paul: Responding to Bill Straub’s column, explaining ‘fundraising’ — and watching your money

Once again, the NKyTribune has given precious print space to partisan columnist Bill Straub who wants to twist things all the way to outright making up things and lying, just to score partisan points. I’m assuming by now most sensible readers of this paper are ignoring this particular writer based on his bias, but on the off=chance that’s not true, I asked the NKyTribune to publish this response.

First of all, there is no bigger guardian of your tax dollars than me. I’ve spent my career in the Senate opposing wasteful spending AND doing what I can personally to set a good example. Over my ten years in office, I’ve returned over $5.2 million in taxpayer dollars from my office budget to the treasury, which is over 17 percent of my budget. If the entire federal government had done that, we would have a balanced budget and not currently be arguing about how many trillion dollars to raise the debt limit.

I take your money seriously, and I am one of the only ones who can say that with a straight face.

Sen. Rand Paul

If you want to see what other people think is okay to do with your money, watch most weeks in Washington and see what they’re trying to pass that I’m fighting against, or go to my website and look at my “Waste Report” and see for yourself.

Regarding political funds, anyone who has ever raised money for a charity or cause they believe in can spot the lies in the column that appeared in this space the other day. Saying there was a food/restaurant expense, or a fancy hotel expense from my non-taxpayer funded PAC, well that’s disingenuous at best.

If you are trying to raise money for something, you have to spend money to do it. Whether that’s the cost of fundraising staff, digital ads, direct mail letters, or, as this writer gleefully detailed, a few thousand dollars of direct expenses for events, it’s simply the nature of raising money.

If you go to an event for Habitat for Humanity, or the American Cancer Society, chances are it was at a nice event hall, a fancy hotel, or an upscale restaurant. It likely cost them thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to put on the event. But they do that because it helps them raise the funds needed to power their organizations and their mission.

The same goes for political fundraising. All of the events and costs detailed in the columm were for those reasons – to raise money for this committee, for other committees, or for candidates for office that I support.

Several of the itemized listings —- the Breakers, The Inn at Perry Cabin, and the Salamander, were for weekend donor events in which hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised for other Senators through the National Republican Senatorial Committee. In addition, all of those events included secondary RANDPAC donor events raising tens of thousands more. Kind of puts the $4,200 in expenses in a much different light when you realize it helped to raise one hundred times that amount for my PAC and for other Senators.

Apparently the author is also shocked that people raise money at golf events. Everyone from your local charities to your alma mater to someone running for senator or president does this. The fact is, many donors love these events and give large sums to support good causes while doing them. I’m sure the author will be policing every one of these charities, since this is one of the most common fundraising ideas out there.

For a few hundred dollars in golf fees, we always raise thousands of dollars – in one case as much as $200,000 on a single day at a golf event to support my PAC and other candidates.

My PAC is also different in that it seeks to inform and mobilize people on the issues you and I care about. So I send out emails, newsletters, mailers, and ads that talk about issues like debt, lockdowns, King Fauci, and other topical issues, and I urge people to take action to help support our causes.

No one else does that with their PAC, but it costs money, and it gets listed under the “operating expenses” the author falsely lambasted.

To summarize, biased writers can think and write what they want. But I’m standing up for you and for the things we believe in. I’m watchful of your tax dollars, and I use your voluntary contributions to further the causes we believe in. I’ll keep doing those things no matter how mad it makes the left.

Rand Paul serves the U.S. Senate from Kentucky.

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  1. Eileen Foster says:

    Can’t be true. I’ve been investigating this matter for a few years getting data from the most expert websites such as compacom.com, nerdwallet.com, finder.com, etc and I’ve never met such an opinion. Check it out yourself.

  2. Ruth Bamberger says:

    Sen. Paul misses the point of Straub’s column– big money from whatever source is the dominant driver of politics. It’s “legal bribery”, given the fact that our once campaign finance law s have been just about obliterated. Members of Congress do not need to have personal PACs for the reasons Paul states. Personal PACS are just one more vehicle in moving big money around. Sen. Paul has the means to inform his constituents from the budget allocation for his office without having to use money from a personal PAC.
    Senate and House rules should outlaw these PACs.

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