Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Congress (CREW) has issued a report on whom they regard to be the most corrupt members of Congress, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, receives what the group refers to a "dishonorable mention."
CREW report claims double billing of travel expenses
The report claims that Paul paid for travel expenses using his congressional allowance while at the same time also receiving funds for the same expenses from political and non-profit supporters. The report quotes a Paul representative as claiming that any instances of double billing were "inadvertent" and that no taxpayer funds were misused. Nevertheless, the report suggests that Paul may be guilty of conversion of federal property for private use, making false statements, making false claims, and conduct not reflecting credibility on the House.
Paul accused of paying family members for political work
According to a story in US News, CREW has previously accused Paul of paying family members to work for him either in his political campaign or various organizations that he has run. This amounted to $304,599 for six family members. According to NBC News, Ron Paul's 2012 campaign chairman and grandson-in-law Jesse Benton hit back, suggesting that payments to Paul relatives accounted for only a fraction of 1 percent of money spent by Paul's political campaigns over the past five years. CREW admitted that Paul employing relatives was perfectly legal and in adherence to congressional rules, but implied that many campaign donors were not aware that Paul relatives were working for Paul and suggesting that constituted an appearance of impropriety.
Ron Paul in opposition to government "corruption"
Despite the accusation of corruption, Paul has painted himself as a champion against government corruption. For example, according to his campaign website, he is an advocate of auditing the Federal Reserve under the theory that it operates "in the shadows" and has thus contributed a great deal to the debasing of the American dollar. Paul has also inveighed against American foreign and defense policy, which he holds is being run solely by an unaccountable executive branch against the interests of the American people.
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Congress, which has leveled accusations of corruption against Paul, states that its mission is to, "ensure government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- act with honesty and integrity and merit the public trust." It does this by "marrying in-depth research and investigation with hard-charging legal action and an aggressive communications strategy." Its goal is to develop coalitions to enact policies that promote transparency and accountability.
Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.