Ron Paul, who refuses to endorse another GOP candidate and was coy about a potential third party run in a recent radio interview, is less cagey about his campaign expenses.
ProPublica‘s Kim Barker combed through Paul’s FEC expense reports, and concluded that his “campaign’s hyper-vigilance is notable, verging on fanatical.”
“Every bank fee, every 22 cents at a FedEx, every $1 toll on the Florida turnpike, every $5.09 pit stop at any Starbucks anywhere, every doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts and Dough Nutz — it’s all right there, itemized in the Paul campaign’s copious expenditure reports. In 160 instances so far, the campaign has reported purchases costing a single dollar or less,” Barker writes.
Federal Election Commission rules only require candidates to report payments to a vendor that top $200 in a single election cycle. But Paul’s campaign and his supporting Super PAC, Endorse Liberty, take transparency to the extreme, reporting even the tiniest expenditures.
And as Barker writes, these reports offer a glimpse of the unromantic life of a campaign staffer:
Like Paul himself, the campaign staffers often seem to value thrift. On Oct. 18, for instance, someone spent $1.09 for office equipment at the Dollar Tree in Baton Rouge. Eight days later, someone else spent $1 at a Salvation Army on Sheep Davis Road in New Hampshire for event supplies.
Staffers often ate cheap, spending $1.39 for a meal at the Circle K in El Dorado, Kan., on Sept. 27, $1.27 at the Kwik Star in Charles City, Iowa, on Dec. 9, and 99 cents at the Conoco in Moses Lake, Wash., on Feb. 20. Well, maybe they weren’t meals.
“We actually don’t have any food here,” said Chris Chase, the manager of that Conoco, who didn’t recall anyone from the Paul campaign and actually had never heard of the Paul campaign. “We’ve got some candies. Suckers are under $1. We’ve got some protein bars for 99 cents, some Planters peanuts for 59 cents.”
Here are a list of ten reported expenses from the Paul campaign:
- $0.22 spent on office supplies at a FedEx in Henderson, Nevada
- $0.99 for a meal expense at a Conoco in Moses Lake, Washington
- $1.00 paid for tolls to the Florida Turnpike
- $1.00 on event supplies at a Salvation Army in Concord, New Hampshire
- $1.00 paid for a toll to the NH Bureau of Turnpikes
- $1.07 on downloading office supplies from iTunes Music
- $1.09 spent on office equipment at a Dollar Tree in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- $3.93 for a meal expense at an EZ GO in Waller, Oklahoma
- $7.44 spent on office equipment at an Office Depot in Denham Springs, Louisiana
- $59.50 meal expense at the Puritan Backroom in Manchester, New Hampshire