Presidential races

Paul campaign disputes importance of rebellious super-PAC

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Rand Paul’s campaign is pushing back against suggestions that a super-PAC’s reported withdrawal of support will have a material effect on the Kentucky senator’s run for president. 

“It is untruthful for a story to say that this Super PAC stopped supporting Senator Paul, when in fact they don’t seem to have lifted a finger in the first place,” said Paul spokesman Sergio Gor. 

“The PACs that were set up to help Rand Paul and have done work to do so remain active and ongoing,” he added. 

Gor was responding to questions raised by a POLITICO story on Tuesday that quoted libertarian Ed Crane saying he was becoming disenchanted with Paul’s campaign and reportedly deciding to stop “raising money for him until I see the campaign correct its problems.” 

Reportedly calling Paul’s campaign a “futile crusade” and accusing the Kentucky senator of abandoning his libertarian principles, Crane has suggested he will, for the time being, sit on roughly $1 million in the PurplePAC account. Most of that money came from a single donor – from Philadelphia trader Jeffrey Yass.  

But it is unclear what Crane’s operation has done to serve the candidate it claims to have been supporting.

A review of Federal Election Commission records shows that Crane’s Purple PAC spent only $7,404.98 in its mid-year 2015 report – and of that amount, $6,500 was spent on “logo design services.” The remainder of the expenditures went to legal fees. No new independent expenditures have been reported for Purple PAC between July 1 and Sept. 29, so it is not clear whether Crane’s group has spent any money for Paul during that time. 

Crane did not respond to requests for comment. 

On the other hand, the two super-PACs with which Paul has publicly praised — Concerned American Voters and America’s Liberty PAC — are still operating and have been spending on Paul’s behalf.  

Since July 1, Concerned American Voters has spent more than $1.5 million to support Paul with activities such as grassroots organizing, robocalls, and the production of door hangers according to FEC reports.

And during that same period, America’s Liberty PAC has spent about $500,000 on TV commercials supporting Paul’s candidacy. 

Concerned American Voters President Jeff Frazee said in a statement Tuesday evening, “Concerned American Voters…is very pleased with our progress and the money we are quietly raising right now. We’re committed and confident Rand will rise again this next quarter.” 

Added the super-PAC’s senior adviser Matt Kibbe, “We are still 100 percent committed to electing Rand Paul.”

One of Paul’s more generous super-PAC donors says he is keeping faith in the Kentucky senator, despite the Crane story and Paul’s slipping into low single digits in recent polls. 

“I’ve known Ed Crane a long time… and Iike him very much but I would disagree that the party is over Rand Paul,” said New Jersey businessman John Aglialoro, who gave $84,000 to the pro-Paul group Concerned American Voters.

Aglialoro, who had not read the Crane story but was responding to its contents relayed over the phone, said it was “way too soon” to start writing off candidates.  

Saying he would be willing to write additional checks to support Paul, Aglialoro suggested he would be shocked if the Kentucky senator decided, as rumors have suggested, to drop his bid for the presidency and only compete for his senate re-elect. 

Agliloro believes that Paul’s small government views are mainstream and will find a large and enthusiastic audience in the American public. 

“My intention is that he will do well, his numbers will go higher,” he said of Paul. “I don’t have anybody else to support at this point but him.” 

Asked how he would respond if at some point over the coming weeks Paul suspended his presidential campaign as former GOP candidates Scott Walker and Rick Perry did recently, Aglialoro paused.  

“It would take the breath out of me,” he finally said. “It would ruin my day.”

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