Paul Flips on Accepting Bailout Senators' Funds

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 23, 2010 | Go to article overview

Paul Flips on Accepting Bailout Senators' Funds


Byline: Bruce Schreiner Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Kentucky Republican senatorial candidate Rand Paul is seeking fundraising help from GOP lawmakers who voted for the massive 2008 financial bailout, flip-flopping on a campaign promise to shun those lawmakers.

The libertarian-leaning Paul, who condemns taxpayer-backed bailouts of the private sector, will benefit from a Thursday night fundraiser at the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Washington, D.C. Nine of 12 GOP senators listed on the invitation voted for the $700 billion bank bailout in 2008. Tickets to the event went for $1,000 per person, with sponsorships up to $5,000 per group.

During the primary, Paul pledged not to accept contributions from any senator who had voted for the financial bailout. That promise was included on his campaign website at the time but has since been removed.

The first-time candidate slammed his main primary opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, for taking campaign cash last year at a Washington fundraiser hosted by a number of senators who backed the bailout.

That was then, but now the Paul campaign is welcoming support from lawmakers it once shunned.

"We considered that the primary was a fight over the direction and the soul of the Republican Party," Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton said this week. "By Rand taking that hard stance in the primary, we think that those ideas won."

Now that Paul is the nominee, "it is great to see so many leaders lining up behind" him, Benton said.

Paul's campaign anticipates that most of the Republican senators listed on the invitation will contribute, Benton said.

Paul's Democratic opponent, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, criticized the about-face.

"Rand Paul made a pledge when he needed to win the primary," said Conway spokeswoman Allison Haley. "But now that the bailout senators are offering him money, the pledge goes out the window."

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell will be a host of the fundraiser for his fellow Kentuckian, though McConnell endorsed Grayson in the primary.

Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist, said the fundraiser reflects an understanding by Paul that he needs establishment Republicans "more than he thought he did for money and guidance. …

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