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Records Show Ron Paul Trips Paid Twice

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Roll Call found evidence of Rep. Ron Paul being reimbursed twice for Congressional travel — once by taxpayers, once by other groups he controlled.

• In September 2000, Paul's credit card was used to purchase three plane tickets on separate dates that were also reimbursed by both his campaign and by the House. Handwritten notes on the credit card statements indicate Paul's campaign would pay for two of the tickets and Liberty PAC would pay for the other. FEC filings show Paul's campaign paid for the first two tickets Oct. 26, 2000, and Liberty PAC paid for the third ticket Oct. 30. The credit card statements indicate Paul was a passenger for one of those flights; no passenger name is available for the other flights. Taxpayers also reimbursed Paul for all of those flights.

Public records show hundreds of flight payments between 1999 and 2009 in which both the House and Paul's campaign paid for plane tickets of the same price and about the same date. Given the limitations of publicly reported data, in many of those cases it's not possible to conclude that the matching flight payments represent duplicate reimbursements, because the possibility of an alternate traveler cannot be disproved. Paul has not been accused of wrongdoing by any authorities.

Roll Call 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.

Benton said the office was unable to confirm travelers for any of the trips because "this stuff is so old, we don't even have full records."

Benton also argued "Roll Call did not provide Congressman Paul's campaign with copies of the credit card receipts it relied on in writing this article. Those records, if authentic, apparently were stolen from Congressman Paul's business office in Texas.

"Congressman Paul has taken many thousands of commercial flights between Houston and Washington, D.C., since returning to Congress in 1997. The particular flights Roll Call provided us as examples occurred between 1999 and 2005, well before the current time periods for which the FEC and IRS require records to be maintained."

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.

"The past century should have taught us one thing, that government intervention is expensive. Government programs lend themselves so easily to waste, fraud and abuse," Paul said in 2009 remarks opposing President Barack Obama's health care law.

Paul also has specifically advertised the Spartan spending habits in his Congressional office, boasting in press releases in 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 about the amount of unused money he was returning to the Treasury from his budget for the previous year.

"Since my first year in Congress representing the 14th district I have managed my office in a frugal manner," Paul said in a 2008 statement.

Paul Singer contributed to this report.

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