Roll Call magazine reported Monday that Texas Congressman and GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul was apparently reimbursed twice for trips made between Washington, D.C. and his district.
Jonathan Strong wrote:
Rep. Ron Paul appears to have been 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 documents obtained by Roll Call.
According to Strong, records reveal that Paul was reimbursed twice for at least eight flights.
Strong wrote that “dozens more instances of duplicate payments for travel from 1999 to 2009” were found, “but the evidence in those cases,” he adds, “is not as complete.”
His congressional office denied the allegations and did not make the Congressman available for an interview.
Roll Call says it “provided Paul’s office with examples of double-billed flights more than a week ago, including the relevant information from the credit card statements, and provided additional examples over the ensuing days.”
But campaign spokesman Jesse Benton argued that some of the records “if authentic, apparently were stolen from Congressman Paul’s business office in Texas.”
“Roll Call did not provide Congressman Paul’s campaign with copies of the credit card receipts it relied on in writing this article,” he argued, dismissing the allegations while saying it was “possible that wholly inadvertent errors were made in a handful of instances,” he said.
Business Insider added:
It’s not the first time Paul has faced questions over his air travel. One of the staples of presidential political reporting is digging into the candidates’ receipts to get a picture of just how posh they like to travel, and Paul is no exception. Paul billed taxpayers for 31 round-trips and 12 one-way flights, all first class, since may 2009, according to Associated Press findings published last month.
In all, taxpayers paid $52,000 for flights where cheaper tickets were available. AP found that Paul’s office could have saved $27,621 by selecting economy tickets instead.
Strong acknowledged that in some cases, separate tickets were purchased for his wife, Carol, or for staffers, but said “those tickets — identifiable by distinct prices, dates and flight paths — were reimbursed separately.”
Some of the trips, according to Roll Call, appeared to have been paid with a corporate credit card for Ron Paul & Associates Inc., long after Paul filed articles of dissolution with the State of Texas.
In all, Roll Call says it “has identified more than 25 flights, totaling about $15,000, for which the dates, costs, airline companies and flight paths closely match reimbursements made by the House and Paul’s other organizations.”
Included in those findings:
• On May 11, 2004, Paul’s credit card was used to purchase a $323.60 plane ticket for him from Houston to Reagan National Airport departing May 17. Ten days later, the House paid Paul $323.60 for a flight from Houston to Reagan National Airport departing May 17. On June 29, Paul’s campaign paid for the same flight, FEC filings show, along with a dinner at El Toro Mexican Restaurant and gasoline from a Texaco station in Houston — expenses listed on the same credit card statement as the flight.
• On Sept. 23, 2003, Paul’s card was used to buy a $646.50 round-trip plane ticket from D.C. to Houston, according to the credit card statements, which identify Paul as the passenger. About three weeks later, the House paid Paul $646.50 for the same flight. Ten days after that, his campaign paid for the ticket a second time, along with restaurant and gasoline purchases from the same credit card statement.
Noting that “Paul’s presidential campaign is premised on his national reputation as a leading advocate for smaller government, built up over a career of crusading for spending cuts and personal liberty,” Roll Call recounted a statement made by the Congressman in 2008:
“Since my first year in Congress representing the 14th district I have managed my office in a frugal manner,” he said.
More on Ron Paul at modenook.com can be found here.
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