Ron Paul Accused of Receiving Double Reimbursement for Airline Tickets

Updates to this story:

23 February.  Jonathon Strong replies to my request for the public documents, referring me to www.fec.gov and sending the following PDF, calling it “the ones that are difficult to get”.  He states further that the Congressional expenditures “aren’t online anywhere”.  Here’s the PDF.

23 February.  Columnist Jonathon Strong replies to my email, stating that the documents have now been posted and are linked to in his 21 February story (detailed below).  The links are:  http://www.rollcall.com/media/newspics/RonPaulAmericanExpress.pdf  http://www.rollcall.com/media/newspics/RonPaulChecks.pdf   I have not had time to examine these documents.  I will post my analysis when it is finished.

23 February.  I emailed Jonathon Strong asking that he post the “public documents” (House of Representatives reimbursement records) that would show that the House had also paid for the flights reimbursed by Liberty Committee.

From: Jack Pelham [mailto:jack@jackpelham.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2012 10:18 AM
To: ‘Jonathan Strong’
Subject: RE: Evidence for Ron Paul Airline Tickets story

Mr. Strong:

Thank you for substantiating your article further with these source documents.  I think that the only things the reader will need now to do his own investigation will be the reply of Ron Paul to this evidence and a link to the “public records” that show he was reimbursed by the House of Representatives.  I know you can’t make Ron Paul make a statement, but could you also post the public records?

 Thanks for your work on this important story.

 Jack Pelham

22 February.  Limbaugh mentions it on 22 February….wondering aloud whether the moderators in the debate tonight (22 February) will ask Paul about it.

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In a 6 February 2012 article entitled Records Show Ron Paul Trips Paid Twice, Roll Call staff writer, Jonathon Strong, claims that records obtained by Roll Call show that Congressman Ron Paul has repeatedly been reimbursed by the House of Representatives and various Paul-run political organizations for airline tickets.  These double reimbursements are said to have occurred over the past twelve-or-so years.  The article makes the assertion, but shows none of the documentation from which these finds are said to have come.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think this story is a done deal until the evidence has been viewed (and until we’ve heard Ron Paul’s side of it), so I emailed the following query this morning to Jonathon Strong, asking that he either publish the documents in question, or email them to me.

From: Jack Pelham [mailto:jack@jackpelham.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 8:00 AM
To: ‘JonathanStrong@cqrollcall.com’
Subject: Evidence for Ron Paul Airline Tickets story

Mr. Strong:

I have read with interest your 6 February 2012 article, Records Show Ron Paul Trips Paid Twice.  As I’m sure you are well aware, the public are so jaded with news stories about candidates that they’re never sure whether any particular story is legitimate, or is just a “hit piece”.  I am in no hurry to make a judgment either way, but I want the truth to come out…wherever it may lead.

Obviously, your story would be greatly bolstered if you would present images of at least some of the documents in question.  Of particular value, of course, would be those documents with the handwritten notations you mentioned.

Though Ron Paul’s campaign presents no viable threat to anyone at the present time, this story is still highly important as it tends to tarnish the reputation of one of the very few Washington politicians who is fairly well known (whether rightly or wrongly) for being honest.  I ask you, therefore, not to ask the public merely to take your word for these findings, but to publish the documents themselves.  If Ron Paul is indeed engaging in a long-standing artifice and scheme for personal profit, it deserves overwhelming proof so as to be quickly inducted into the realm of publicly-accepted fact, rather than to be never more than a rumor.

If, for some reason, you will not publish these documents, please email them to me.

Sincerely,

Jack Pelham

I, of course, am in no position to know whether Ron Paul is guilty as charged or not.  I think, therefore, that it would be wholly dishonest and irresponsible to assume either his guilt or his innocence in this matter until the evidence is seen.  Regardless, two things will be highly instructive as I continue to attempt to vet this story:

  1. Will Jonathon Strong and Roll Call publish the documents or not?  If they do not, then they damage their credibility as I can imagine no plausible reason for withholding such evidence, if it is legitimate.  If the evidence was indeed “stolen”, as the story claims the Paul office stated, then Roll Call should still come forward, even if producing the documents would tend to incriminate them.
  2. Will Ron Paul make a clear, decisive, responsible, and thorough public statement about these charges?  If he does not answer, it hurts his credibility in my view.

I note that in a 21 February 2012 article at Roll Call, Associated Confronted Rep. Ron Paul About Flights, Strong addressed the same subject by including statements from David James, whom Ron Paul recruited to run Liberty Committee.  In that interview, says Strong, David James verified that there were irregularities with Paul’s airline ticket reimbursements.  Even so, I see that Strong has omitted from the article one standard piece of journalistic practice; in no place does he say that he contacted the Paul campaign for a statement on David James’ assertions.  As contacting both sides in a matter is such a standard practice, it’s hard to believe that this was a mere oversight, and it raises suspicions that either Roll Call or Jonathon Strong are not wholly objective on this topic.

Reuters ran the reimbursement story on 8 February 2012, noting that Paul’s office was not available for “immediate comment”, which sounds suspiciously as if they were not interested in waiting to get both sides of the story.  I searched at Google News and didn’t find this story getting much play.  Similarly, a search at Fox News didn’t show that they had run a story on it.  Neither does CNN appear to have run a story on it to date.  Nor has CBS News.  Nor did I find anything at ABC News.  Interestingly, no one appears to be discussing it at DailyPaul.com, either, though that forum does delete posts from time to time when it deems them “unproductive” (or, most recently, “off topic“).  And finally, I found no mention of it at Ron Paul’s campaign site.

Suffice it to say that this story has not gone big yet.  One wonders why.  Do the major news outlets (other than Reuters) simply not find it credible?  Do they not find it interesting?  Do they simply not have enough time for it?  I see no point in speculating, but I will say this:  If I were a candidate, and such a story had been published about me, I’d not have waited from 6 February until now (or later than now) to make a statement about it.  This silence, of course, doesn’t mean that Ron Paul is guilty as charged; it could be explained in other ways, too.  Regardless, however, his silence bothers me.  If the charges can be put to rest, what benefit is there in waiting until the story goes big first?

Like sour milk, stories like this tend only to get worse when left for another day.

I will post an update, of course, should I receive any more information.

Jack

 

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