Congressman Ron Paul’s Liberty PAC is having a banner year! So far this election season, the organization, a separate PAC from the the Super PACs supporting his presidential campaign, has raised $1.3 million, far more than the $186,000 it took in during the 2010 races and definitely more than the $304,000 or so from when Paul last ran for president in 2008. But unlike his Republican rivals, all of whom have their own PACs, Paul’s team isn’t being very generous when it comes to dispensing that pot of political cash.
Mitt Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC, for example, has given out $253,000 to 125 House candidates and $91,500 to 25 Senate candidates, obviously with the hope that the lawmakers will help his own White House ambitions. In contrast, the bulk of Liberty PAC’s spending has gone toward travel ($285,870, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.) It has only given out $15,000 for House candidates and $5,000 to a senator, his son, Rand Paul.
The candidate receiving the most money from Liberty PAC, it turns out, is Ron Paul himself. Records show that Liberty PAC has given Paul $20,000 for his presidential campaign. Romney’s leadership PAC has given the former Massachusetts $0. Same with Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich’s respective groups, America’s Foundation and American Solutions.
Of course, Paul could use all the financial help he can get: super PACs working on his behalf have raised only $4,149,294 and spent almost the same: 3,537,839. By comparison, Mitt Romney-backing super PACs have spent about $45 million. Maybe it’s time for PayPal founder Peter Thiel to give a bit more to the pro-Paul Super PAC Endorse Liberty. Thiel has already given at least $2.6 million.
The sad thing is that all of the pro-Paul spending is that it will be a complete waste. No, I’m not talking about whether or not Paul can win the presidency — he cannot — but since 2008 it looked as if the Libertarian politics he has for so long championed were finally impacting the Republican Party. The Tea Party mushroomed almost overnight into a national movement and it appeared Paul’s political leanings were becoming the GOP’s raison d’être. But now social issues are again in the limelight, and the Republican Party has gone even further to the right than one thought possible. Small government and personal freedoms, though still important to voters and lauded by all the candidates, are again being trumped by old school culture wars, effectively pushing Paul off the stage, and his money down the drain.