Ron Paul's Close-Knit Family Staffs Campaign

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 11:27am.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has relied on an exceptionally close-knit core of staffers as he's built his long-shot GOP presidential bid into a fundraising behemoth over the last several months.

The bonds between Paul and the inner circle of his campaign are closer than most, though. He's put family members in myriad positions on the campaign trail, according to FEC reports cited in Tuesday's Washington Post. Paul's family members have been paid nearly $170,000 total.

Paul's granddaughter Valori Pyeatt helps organize fundraising receptions and has been paid $17,157. Another granddaughter, Laura Paul ($2,724), handles orders for Ron Paul merchandise. Grandson Matthew Pyeatt ($3,251) manages Paul's MySpace profile. Daughter Peggy Paul ($2,224) helps with campaign logistics. The candidate's sons Randall and Robert and his daughter Joy Paul LeBlanc have all been paid for campaign travel and for appearing as surrogates at political events.

Who keeps track of all these finances? Paul's brother and daughter, naturally, who have been paid a combined $62,740 to handle the campaign's accounting.

Paul's spokesman, Jesse Benton (who is engaged to one of the candidate's granddaughters), tells the Post that nepotism is not behind Paul's decision to hire his family members. Rather, Benton says, it is about "having people around that you can unconditionally trust."

The Post notes that nothing Paul did was illegal. Federal elections laws simply require that family members hired by a campaign are qualified for the job and paid in line with what outside employees would fetch for equal work.

However, some ethics watchdogs say questions always linger when family members make it onto campaign payrolls.

"This was never intended to be a family business," Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington tells the Post. "The reason this is troubling is that it's not clear to donors whether their campaign donations are really going to support the candidacy or to support the family."

CREW has documented dozens of lawmakers who keep family members on staff, including Paul. The Texas congressman employed his daughter Lori Pyeatt, who is now on the presidential campaign staff, on his House re-election campaigns in the last three cycles.

Paul's brother, Wayne, who helps run an accounting firm that has maintained the candidate's books, says that third-party firms the campaign hired were not doing a good enough job.

"It was a matter of ensuring there were no more third parties that attempted to screw up my brother's campaign by not filing proper returns," Wayne Paul told the Post. "If that's impropriety, by God . . . have at it. It was done out of sheer necessity. Our firm was repaid for purposes of ensuring that everybody got properly paid."

source - RawStory -  May 27, 2008 - posted at

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 11:27am.