When politicians and their staff start to dream of the presidency, they usually start to make sure all their required financial reports are in perfect order. That has not happened yet to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. There is uncertainty regarding who paid for a trip to the Middle East in January.
With Paul's trip last weekend to Iowa and his trip next week to New Hampshire, his travel plans are coming under closer scrutiny. This also applies to foreign travel. A review of public records of the U.S. Senate indicate Paul has not filed a travel disclosure report for his early January free weeklong trip with his family to Israel. A post-travel report required by Senate Rule 35 is due 30 days after a trip is completed.
Senators who plan to receive reimbursed travel must also seek review of the proposed travel from the Select Committee on Ethics 30 days prior to the trip. It is not clear whether Paul's trip was pre-cleared.
News accounts indicated the trip was sponsored by the American Family Association and organized by David Lane, a political activist in groups on the Christian right, and by evangelist minister Richard Roberts, son of Oral Roberts. The organized trip included 53 evangelical leaders and political party officials, such as Chad Connelly, chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, and A.J. Spiker, chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa.
During the trip there were meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and others.
A spokesperson for Paul stated, "AFA sponsored the trip but they did not pay Rand's expenses specifically." It is not clear exactly who paid for the Senator's expenses. If he reimbursed AFA after the trip, he may still have a reporting obligation.
It is possible that the January trip with his family to Israel may have been paid for by Paul's leadership PAC, Re-Inventing A New Direction - RANDPAC, but that remains unclear since the PAC has not filed a quarterly disclosure report covering activity from January through March. Update: As a quarterly filer, the PAC, in a non-election year, may switch, without notification to the FEC, to a mid-year filing. As of the end of 2012, the PAC reported it had $425,498 cash on hand.
A third report, his annual personal financial and wealth report, is due today, but he has requested and been granted an extension to file by Aug. 13.
This post was updated on 5/15.