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Just weeks after the leader of a Super PAC supporting Rand Paul was indicted, it was revealed that another Super PAC supporting the Kentucky senator and presidential hopeful has been dormant since June.
Politico first reported today that Purple PAC, a Super PAC founded by Ed Crane, has not been actively fundraising for Paul.
“We havent really been actively soliciting money until we feel the Purple PAC and Rand are on the same page,” Purple PAC leader Ed Crane told ABC News.
Crane said that the Super PAC hasn’t shut down, but other than a $10,000 contest, the PAC hasn’t raised or spent any money to help Paul since June.
Paul’s campaign has struggled to gain traction with voters. Crane, a libertarian activist and co-founder of the Cato Institute, created Purple PAC in 2013 and shifted the PAC’s focus on raising money for Paul this summer.
“Within a couple of days we got two or three donations and we said were not going anywhere with this until we’re certain the campaign is on the right track and at the time we didnt think it was,” Crane said.
Crane said that he has been disappointed with Paul’s campaign strategy.
“All of sudden his campaign decided hes going to be a mainstream candidate and that took some steam out of his candidacy,” Crane said.
Crane feels that Paul has been “off in too many directions” instead of sticking to his “core message of peace and free enterprise.” But Crane also had praise for Paul.
“I think hes been terrific on the NSA and civil liberties,” Crane said.
Crane hasn’t ruled out returning to fundraising for Paul or doing more to help Paul’s struggling campaign. He said that the timetable for making a decision would be within the next month.
“[Purple PAC] never got off the ground and it will one day, possibly, if Rand starts using the more libertarian approach,” Crane said.
Three Super PACs have fundraised for Paul since he announced his candidacy in April: Purple PAC, Concerned American Voters and America’s Liberty PAC. These Super PACs have raised a combined $6.19 million, far lower than the money raised by Super PACs supporting rivals Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush. Paul’s campaign raised $5.33 million between April and the end of June.
Sergio Gor, a spokesman for Senator Rand Paul’s campaign, says that Purple PACs dormancy doesnt hurt the Paul campaign because the super PAC had done little, if anything, to help bolster Pauls candidacy. According to the most recent FEC reports available, Purple PAC has no independent expenditures.
“It is untruthful for a story to say that this Super PAC stopped supporting Senator Paul, when in fact they don’t seem to have lifted a finger in the first place,” Gor said.
“The PACs that were set up to help Rand Paul and have done work to do so remain active and ongoing,” Gor said.
Gor is referring to America’s Liberty PAC and Concerned American Voters. America’s Liberty PAC says on its website that it is the only Super PAC endorsed by Senator Paul. Concerned American Voters has produced video ads supporting Paul. America’s Liberty PAC saw a change in leadership this summer after its initial leader, Jesse Benton, was indicted. In August, Benton was indicted on federal charges that he was involved in bribing an Iowa politician to shift his allegiance to endorse Ron Paul in the 2012 presidential race.
ABC News reached out to Concerned American Voters and a spokesman confirmed that it was still actively fundraising for the Kentucky senator.
“We’re very pleased with what we’re quietly doing right now. Rand will rise again in this next quarter,” said Jeff Frazee, president of Concerned American Voters, in an email.
While Crane feels that Paul isn’t showing his libertarian roots enough, the senior adviser to Concerned American Voters appears to feel the opposite.
In a statement, Matt Kibbe, senior adviser to Concerned American Voters, said, “We are still 100 percent committed to electing Rand Paul. More donors are warming and becoming energized as a result of Rand’s performance in the last debate. They really want a principled, libertarian voice on issues like foreign policy, tax cuts, and criminal justice reform.”
Kibbe also said in the statement that the Super PAC is focused on “get out the vote” mechanics, particularly in Iowa.
“Rand is unique because of his track record and leadership on these issues. Once we get through these flavors of the week and the field narrows, Rand will emerge as the anti-establishment choice,” Kibbe said.
Paul, himself, will be holding fundraisers for his presidential and senate campaign this week. Some insiders have questioned whether fundraising for his Senate campaign shows his presidential campaign is in trouble.
“Senator Paul has been clear he’s running for both, so we’ll fundraise for both,” said Gor.
Paul defended his campaign’s viability in multiple interviews today and said that fundraising for his Senate campaign shouldn’t be misconstrued.
“I am running for Senate concurrently, but Ive been raising money for my Senate run for the past two years. So this is nothing new,” Paul told Fox News.
Paul also said that his presidential campaign is in it for the long haul. Earlier today, Paul’s wife, Kelley Paul, filed the paperwork for her husband to participate in the South Carolina primary.
“Were in it to win it. Were in it for the long haul. Were organizing in all 50 states for the presidency. We have 350 different college groups that were started in different colleges across America,” Paul told Fox News.
ABC News’ Ryan Struyk contributed to this report.
GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul Monday contrasted his own tax reform plan with the one front-runner Donald Trump is set to unveil, saying that unlike Trump’s, his own plan actually cuts taxes for everyone.
“My tax plan gets rid of the entire code,” the Kentucky Republican told CNN’s “New Day” co-host Alisyn Camerota. “We have 14.5 percent for everybody. My tax plan would cut taxes. His, I think, is going to keep taxes level.”
Trump said on CBS’ “60 Minutes” program Sunday that his tax plan would include higher taxes for the wealthy, while taxes would go down for the middle and lower classes, and corporate taxes would also be dropped.
Story continues below video.
Paul said he has not yet seen Trump’s complete tax plan, but he said he’s heard it will be “revenue neutral,” which means “people won’t have any money remaining in the private market. I’ll have $3 trillion remaining. On mine, you’ll be able to fill out your tax plan on a postcard.”
Paul also on Monday denied claims made by Trump and others published through Politico that he will be dropping out of the presidential race soon.
“I’m thinking, how did we get the race for the most important office in the free world to sink to such depths, and how could anyone in my party think that this clown is fit to be president?” Paul said of Trump.
“It reminds me of the funniest moment, I think, of the second debate, when out of nowhere, he starts going after me,” Paul said. “I guess it’s part of his bravado. I’ll tell you this, I think we’ll be around just as long as Trump or longer.”
And he denied the Politico article, which said Paul will likely drop out because of lagging funds, saying that his race has a “unique message,” as he thinks “there are Americans who are no longer Republican or Democrat, and I think I bring the right mix to reach people who are independent.”
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Rand Paul: My Tax Plan Cuts Taxes For All But Trump’s Doesn’t
Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press 10:56 p.m. EDT September 20, 2015
Sen. Rand Paul(Photo: AP Photo)
MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. For the second time in two years, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has won the presidential straw poll at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference, according to results released late Saturday.
But California businesswoman Carly Fiorina, buoyed from the momentum of what was seen as a strong debate performance Wednesday, finished second.
Paul received 22% support in the poll of more than 2,200 conference attendees, according to the poll conducted by the Lansing political newsletter MIRS and The Detroit News.
Paul, the only presidential candidate to attend the conference both this year and when it was last held in 2013, also won the 2013 straw poll.
Rand Paul says Donald Trump has peaked
With 785 ballots counted, Paul was first with 22% and Fiorina was second with 15%.
Ohio Gov John Kasich was third with 14% and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz finished fourth with 13%, according to the released results.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had 9.7%; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had 8.4%, New York businessman Donald Trump had 6.8%; neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson had 5.5% and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had 2.6%.
Other candidates receiving votes had less than 1%.
Paul, Fiorina, Kasich, Cruz and Bush were the five candidates who spoke at the conference, which ends Sunday.
John Yob, a Grand Rapids consultant who serves as Paul’s national political director, said the Mackinac straw poll has historically been a strong indicator of which candidate wins Michigan.
Though officials with other campaigns complained the Paul campaign made a concerted effort to bring people to the island to resister for the conference so they could vote in the straw poll, Yob said other campaigns spent considerable amounts trying to improve their own performances in the poll.
“That’s what organizational contests are all about,” and “Rand Paul is going to over-perform in organizational contests around the country.”
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Rand Paul wins Mackinac straw poll
Presidential candidate Rand Paul is planning to sign the Republican National Committee’s loyalty pledge and forego a third party run — and is cautioning that if Donald Trump doesn’t sign it, the billionaire could hand a 2016 victory to Democrats.
“What I don’t like about Donald Trump is his using the Republican party and then perhaps going out at the very end after he doesn’t win the nomination and then trying to destroy the Republican party,” Paul told “CBS This Morning” early Thursday. “Ross Perot, you know, ended up giving us the first Clinton and I think that if Trump does this again, he could give us another Clinton.”
Others in the party, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former tech executive Carly Fiorina, also received the pledge and have declared their intention to sign it. Trump is set to meet with RNC chairman Reince Priebus Thursday to discuss the loyalty promise.
While Paul has yet to discuss the pledge circulated by Priebus, the Kentucky Republican would, “in all likelihood,” put his name on the document.
Donald Trump is the only candidate who has threatened to mount a third party campaign. CBS News political director and host of Face the Nation …
“We have said in the past that I am not going to run as a third party candidate,” Paul added. “And I think that is a reasonable pledge to take.”
He did, however, express sympathy for third-party candidates because “sometimes the two parties don’t do a very good job.”
“Third parties do provide pressure on the two parties to do better, actually,” Paul said. In 1988, Paul’s father, former Texas congressman Ron Paul, announced his presidential candidacy as a Libertarian.
Kim Davis could learn her fate Thursday after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing religious views. Davis wants a judg…
The Kentucky Republican also weighed in on Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk defying the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage and refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
“If society is going to change its opinion on what marriage is, I think it’d probably be better through persuasion than through sort of an aggressive tactic where we federalize everything and force people to do things they don’t want to do,” Paul said, defending the Kentucky clerk’s resistance. “Ultimately, I think it would be better to probably let people make their own decisions.”
Kim Davis and her deputies are slated to explain to a federal judge why they shouldn’t be held in contempt of court, even though they continue to defy the justices.
But Paul cautioned that if same-sex marriage advocates “push too hard, they’re actually going to make things worse.”
“I think persuasion is a much better way than sort of bullying people to believe in what you believe in,” he said.
Others in the GOP, however, have advised that Davis’ actions are inappropriate, given her position as a government official.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Turesday that “as a public official, comply with the law or resign,” while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie added that someone working in goverment “has a bit of a different obligation than someone working in the private sector.”
Nationwide, clerks in 13 counties are refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, including nine in Alabama, where the chief justice of the State Supreme Court is strongly opposed to same-sex marriage.
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Rand Paul: Trump third party run "could give us another …
“I jokingly said we’re going to turn the Lincoln bedroom into a surgery suite,” he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day.”
The Kentucky senator recently came back from a mission trip to Haiti with the University of Utah, where he said the group performed 200 cataract surgeries, adding that he hopes his next mission trip will be performing surgeries on Indian reservations next year.
Paul said he still practices medicine in Kentucky for people who don’t have money or insurance.
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“You think politics could be frustrating sometimes, you’re absolutely right,” he said. “But in medicine the amazing thing is we all unify around a goal, someone is blind, we remove the cataract and they can see again. There’s probably nothing more rewarding than seeing that smile.”
The presidential candidate also shared his opinion on gun control, with the debate renewed after two journalists were killed on live television Wednesday morning.
He said that typically people who commit these violent crimes don’t “obey laws to begin with,” adding that guns aren’t the only weapons people use to kill other people.
“People kill people with a variety of different means,” he said. “I don’t think removing guns or even placing more obstacles in front of law abiding citizens works.”
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In the latest Quinnipiac survey released Thursday, Paul had 2% national support and was in 11th place out of the 17 declared Republican candidates.
He said that despite the polling, he has faith in his campaign and shared some of his presidential platform, saying that if he’s president, he will create a single tax rate for all Americans. He said he believes government should be smaller and that Americans need more “personal freedom.”
“One of the interesting things is that I hear these polls and I wonder about them the same as everybody else does but I’ve been traveling throughout the West and we get 500 to 1,000 people at every speech. Our crowds are bigger than they’ve ever been,” he said. “So if I weren’t readying any of this or seeing these polls, I would think we’re doing better than we ever have.”
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Rand Paul will continue eye surgery if president, he says …
Sen. Rand Paul got a vote of confidence from his fellow Kentucky Republicans on Saturday when the state party leadership agreed to let him run both for reelection to his Senate seat and for the GOP nomination for president in the 2016 election cycle.
In voting to hold a party caucus separate from the traditional state primary, the state Republican central committee will allow Paul to technically avoid violating a state law that prohibits a candidate from running for two offices in one election.
As a result, Paul can run for the presidential nomination in the special March 5 caucus and then for his U.S. Senate seat in the May 17 primary — as long as he forks over $250,000 to help defray the increased costs.
The decision moves the Kentucky nomination process to an earlier point in the Republican presidential schedule, potentially making the Bluegrass State more influential in the selection of the GOP nominee.
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A caucus will ensure that Kentucky is relevant in the process, Paul said after Saturdays vote, echoing the selling point that helped him lock in the change.
Party leaders structured the caucus to play up Kentucky as an early caucus state and to entice more of the 17 Republican candidates to come make their case to Kentucky voters.
Rather than a winner-takes-all windfall, the caucus will award delegates proportionally — likely to be a compelling feature for some candidates.
But the move also empowers Paul to keep alive his struggling presidential campaign without voluntarily giving up his seat in the U.S. Senate.
He has until Sept. 18 to fully commit to the race for the Republican presidential nomination by transferring $250,000 to party coffers. If he doesnt transfer the money by mid-September, the party can revert to its single-primary plan.
TRAIL GUIDE: All the latest news on the 2016 presidential campaign >>
The party decision lessens the pressure on Paul to pull the plug on his campaign at a time when voter opinion polls show him in the bottom tier of Republican candidates. Recent national polls show businessman Donald Trump leading the GOP pack, drawing on some of the same anti-establishment voters who Paul had hoped would rally to his side.
With Rand’s place on the ballot for Senate assured, he has more latitude to stay in the presidential race and try to improve his standing — not to mention his attractiveness as a potential vice presidential running mate.
Paul said Saturday that he was grateful for the Republican Partys trust” in him.
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Rand Paul will be allowed to run for president and Senate at …
For now, he’s choosing to pony up.
Paul’s political future rests partially in the hands of nearly 350 Republican officials in Kentucky, who will decide Saturday whether to approve a costly plan that would allow him to run in Kentucky for president and the U.S. Senate simultaneouslyand possibly salvage his chances of staying in electoral politics after 2016.
The proposal, which acts as a work-around of a state law that forbids candidates in Kentucky from running for two federal offices at the same time, would establish a presidential caucus in early March in addition to the state primary scheduled two months later.
If it’s approved, Paul would be allowed to run for president in Kentucky during the March caucus and also for his Senate seat in the May primary. But if it’s turned down, Paul would be forced to give up his Senate seat in exchange for a chance to win any presidential delegates from his home state. (The state legislature shot down a bill last year that would have changed the law so candidates could appear twice on a the same primary ballot.)
Party officials estimate the March 5 caucus will cost about $500,000, and require 400 work hours on the day of the event. While Paul’s campaign is optimistic that the Kentucky GOP central committee will approve the change in plans, lingering concerns remain among state Republican officials about the cost of holding an expensive, time-intensive caucus with such short notice. And the decision comes at at time when Paul is sinking in the polls, overshadowed by Republicans like Donald Trump and struggling to break through the presidential pack.
READ: Post-debate, Trump pulls clear of competition
“People are very much supportive of seeing Sen. Paul further his efforts to become president. The stark reality becomes do we have the money to pay for it?” said Republican Robert Stivers, the president of the state Senate. “It has been more of a money concern than anything else.”
In a last-minute effort to alleviate such concerns, Paul’s campaign took the extraordinary step of pledging to pay most of the costs out-of-pocket. Earlier this week, his campaign deposited $250,000 into the party’s bank as a down payment and promised to provide another $200,000 “at a date agreed upon” by his campaign and the Republican Party of Kentucky, according to a letter Paul sent to committee members.
“I will fully fund this caucus,” Paul wrote. “I want to make sure NO COUNTY CHAIR or (the Republican Party of Kentucky) will be on the hook for ANY money for this caucus.”
The rest of the required funds, Paul proposed, would be raised by charging other campaigns that choose to participate in the caucus through a $15,000 per candidate access fee.
On the ground in Kentucky, Paul’s team has also engaged in a statewide lobbying effort to convince central committee members to support the plan by assuring them it won’t cost the state party.
“They’re really trying hard,” Adair County Republican Chairman Shannon Rowe told CNN. “They’re being pretty aggressive.”
Later this week, Paulwho is currently in Haiti providing pro-bono eye surgery as part of a summer mission tripwill host a conference call with voting committee members to provide more details for his funding plan, his campaign told CNN.
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When the state party’s executive committee first proposed the plan earlier this spring, Paul’s presidential campaign was soaring. The junior senator was heralded in Time magazine as “the most interesting man in politics,” and he was in the top tier of presidential polls. But over the past few months, the emergence of other candidatesparticularly real estate mogul Donald Trumpcombined with Paul’s fundraising struggles and the indictment of the campaign’s close allies on conspiracy charges stemming back to Paul’s father’s 2008 presidential run, Rand Paul has struggled to regain his footing.
The effort began as a way to pave the way for what appeared to be a sure-to-be competitive native son in the spring, but Paul’s decline in the polls has left some voting members less enthusiastic about the move.
“I think a lot of folks suspected they’d be a bit tighter,” Scott Lasley, a Kentucky GOP official, told CNN.
The latest CNN/ORC presidential poll puts Paul in the middle of the pack with just 6% support among registered Republican voters nationally.
Talk of Paul’s success as a reason for holding the caucus “has not come up as frequently,” Lasley said. “That’s gone from about 80 percent of the people I’ve talked to from about ten person of people who bring that up now.”
Regardless of Paul’s chances, party officials also see it as an opportunity to make Kentucky more relevant in the presidential process. As a state that traditionally holds its election in late springa time when White House primaries are often no longer competitivecandidates largely ignore the state or don’t see it as a campaign priority. But moving the contest to early March could finally make the Bluegrass State a player in presidential politics.
“We’re ignored. It has been pretty boring in presidential races,” Lasley said. “The most attractive part for a lot of folks is whether or not this will attract attention to Kentucky and make us relevant in the Republican nomination process.”
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Rand Paul’s tough 2016 choice – CNNPolitics.com
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Jesse Benton, a longtime ally of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who is heading up a super PAC supporting his presidential campaign, has been indicted by a federal grand jury, the Justice Department said Wednesday, on charges that he concealed payments made to a former Iowa state senator during the 2012 presidential campaign in order to win his support.
The indictment marks a new complication for Paul, whose political future is on the line in 2016. He is hoping to hold onto his U.S. Senate seat, which is up for reelection, if he does not win the GOP White House nomination.
The charges against Benton, a member of the Paul family by marriage, stem from an endorsement-for-pay scheme during the 2012 campaign of former Republican congressman Ron Paul of Texas, which Benton chaired.Two other former Ron Paul campaign officials were indicted, including John Tate, who was Ron Paul’s campaign manager and is now also involved with heading up the pro-Rand Paul super PAC; andDimitri Kesari, who was Ron Pauls deputy national campaign manager.
The indictment charges the defendants withconspiracy, causing false records to obstruct a contemplated investigation and causing the submission of false campaign expenditure reports. It alleges they paid more than$70,000 to then-Iowa state senator Kent Sorenson in exchange for his support. The indictment accuses the men ofconcealing their payments from the Federal Election Commission and the FBI.
Federal campaign finance laws are intended to ensure the integrity and transparency of the federal election process, said Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell in a statement announcing the indictment. When political operatives make under-the-table payments to buy an elected officials political support, it undermines public confidence in our entire political system.
Both Ron Paul and a spokesman for Rand Paul issued statements accusing the Justice Department of a politically-motivated attack.
“I am extremely disappointed in the government’s decision,” Ron Paul said in a statement. “I think the timing of this indictment is highly suspicious given the fact that the first primary debate is tomorrow. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those involved.”
Rand Paul’s campaign, through an unnamed spokesman, offered similar criticism of the timing.”Senator Rand Paul is disappointed that the Obama justice department chose to release this just prior to the highly anticipated first Republican presidential debate,” the campaign said. “It certainly appears suspiciously timed and possibly, politically motivated. Additionally, these actions are from 2012 and have nothing to do with our campaign.”
Benton’s attorneyRoscoe C. Howard, Jr.said in a similar statement that his client would be vindicated. “Mr. Benton is eager to get before an impartial judge and jury who will quickly recognize this for what he believes it is: Character assassination for political gain,” he said.
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Rand Paul super PAC head indicted over alleged 2012 …