Freemarketland: The Rand Paul camp continues to innovate the process of buying elections.
To circumvent state election laws that keep him from running for both U.S. Senate and the presidential nomination on the same primary ballot, Rand Paul claims he’s paying to move his own state’s presidential nominating contest (now a caucus) up to the Saturday after Super Tuesday:
[…] the Kentucky senator said he gave $250,000 to his state’s Republican Party for the explicit purpose of funding its presidential caucus in March. He promised to pony up another $200,000 in the fall, enough to cover the entire cost of the nominating event. Put another way: Paul is paying the party to hold an election in which he is running.
Hey, that’s only six times more than it costs to pay an Iowa state senator to switch his endorsement from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul!
Previously from the Rand Paul camp
– AFD: Iowa state senator admits Rand Paul aide bribed him on behalf of Ron Paul
– Washington Post: “It’s actually legal to buy a political endorsement. You just can’t cover it up.”
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced his Democratic presidential campaign this week and raised an impressive $1.5 million in the first 24 hours from about 35,000 donors. Although Clinton obviously has a much larger warchest on tap, this figure has at least put him solidly on par with major Republican contenders in terms of grassroots fundraising:
But the Sanders haul outpaces the three major Republican candidates who already have announced. In the first 24 hours since launching their campaigns, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) raised $1.25 million and Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) raised about $1 million each, according to their campaigns.
They, of course, can count on a lot of super PAC support, as well, in a way Sanders can’t (and doesn’t want to), but this stark comparison has suddenly vaulted Sanders into at least being taken semi-seriously by the U.S. media rather than being roundly mocked as a far-left socialist. (I’ve spotted a lot of recent headlines calling him a “liberal” and “independent” instead of a socialist.) And in truth, he’s certainly not more extreme or fringe than the aforementioned three jokers in the Republican Party’s nomination contest.
Indeed, he’s probably more mainstream than they are. In the words of The Onion on Bernie Sanders:
Biggest Political Liability: Completely out of touch with the average American corporation
Dangerously Radical Fringe Views: Reform Wall Street, avoid costly and ineffective conflicts in Middle East, help working families prosper
After a guilty plea this week, we now have confirmation that Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign bribed an elected official $73,000.
A former Iowa state senator pleaded guilty Wednesday to receiving and concealing payments in exchange for switching his support from one presidential candidate to another in the 2012 election, the Justice Department said.
The former lawmaker, Kent Sorenson, resigned from the Iowa Senate last year after an investigation found that he probably violated ethics rules by taking money from presidential campaigns.
Mr. Sorenson, 42, of Milo, Iowa, had been the state chairman for the presidential campaign of Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, but then switched his support to former Representative Ron Paul of Texas just days before the state’s caucus.
In a statement filed with his plea agreement, Mr. Sorensen admitted that he agreed to switch his allegiance in exchange for $73,000 in payments.
Please tell me more about Congressman Paul’s integrity and principles and blah blah blah. Though I suppose that buying elected officials is very free-market and all that.
The fallout began Friday night, as a Paul family insider, Jesse Benton, was forced to resign as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign manager in Kentucky.
Benton has worked in high-ranking positions in Rand Paul’s first Senate bid in 2010 and Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign, and he has married into the family, as well. It’s not known whether Benton himself knew about the bribe, but there would be a lot of questions either way, and so he had to go. If he’s cleared, I’m guessing he’ll be back for Sen. Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign team, which he had already been slated to join before this scandal broke.