Given that Rep. Ron Paul has long been a champion of frugal, ethical government, while supporting calls to audit the Federal Reserve, his lack of cooperation with Roll Call in two reports on what appear to be duplicate reimbursements for airline travel he’s received exposes the Congressman to charges of hypocrisy.
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.
The initial item from February 6 can be found here.
Roll Call identified eight flights for which the Texas Republican, a GOP presidential candidate and leading champion of smaller government, was reimbursed twice for the same trip. Roll Call also found dozens more instances of duplicate payments for travel from 1999 to 2009, totaling thousands of dollars’ worth of excess payments, but the evidence in those cases is not as complete.
Rep. Paul, through his offices, has repeatedly refused to cooperate by providing access to the Congressman and pertinent staff members. As an elected member of government, it would look better if Paul set an example for the same type of transparency in his professional financial dealings, as he has long advocated for with regard to other branches of government.