Roll Call reported Feb. 6 that Paul was repeatedly paid twice for flights between Washington, D.C., and his Congressional district, receiving reimbursement from taxpayers and also from a network of political and nonprofit organizations he controlled, according to public records and credit card statements for an American Express card in Paul’s name.
Spokesman Jesse Benton said then it was “possible that wholly inadvertent errors were made in a handful of instances” in which flights were reimbursed twice, but he maintained that “absolutely zero taxpayer funds were ever misused.”
But James’ recollection and new documents obtained by Roll Call suggest Paul was aware that he was often being reimbursed twice for individual flights. In all, Roll Call found 26 flights in which several layers of documentation show double payments: credit card statements that detail the ticket purchases, a payment to Paul from his taxpayer-funded House account for reimbursement of a flight and Federal Election Commission records or copies of checks that verify a second payment from a separate group for the same flight.
Roll Call obtained copies of checks from the Liberty Committee to American Express that paid for Paul’s expenses. The records obtained by Roll Call cover about 17 nonconsecutive months. Beyond the 26 flights, documents show an additional 31 flights where it appears Paul was double-reimbursed but the records lack sufficient detail to prove duplicate payments. [Hat tip: Karl Denninger.]
Now, I like Ron Paul, and he has built up a large amount of goodwill with me, and I am therefore inclined to wait and see if there is some sort of misunderstanding, or lack of documentation that explains how this happened, or even an opportunistic staffer that decided to commit a host of other fraud. However, if it is the case that Ron Paul has been defrauding the taxpayers, then there is no way that I can continue to support or otherwise endorse him.
I say this because it is the little things that demonstrate a man’s character. A wise man once said that “he who is faithful over little will be faithful over much.” Conversely, one who defrauds others for small amounts is one who will defraud others for large amounts.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical for Ron Paul to complain about the massive fraud perpetrated by Washington and The Fed when he himself contributes to it. He’s not part of the solution, he’s part of the problem. And while he may not play as large a role in the problem as others, he plays a role nonetheless, and he cannot therefore be trusted to contribute to the solution.
Now, it is my hope that Roll Call is wrong or mistaken, and it is also my hope that Ron Paul is in the clear on this matter. But if he is not, then it is time to simply accept the fact that there is no one who can lead us out of this mess.