Friday, February 27, 2015

Now This Is Creativity From A Rand Paul Top Advisor

Rand Paul's top advisor, Doug Stafford, is showing us what creativity is all about.

The Washington Times is reporting that Stafford  has been soliciting money from some conservatives and political insiders to help his family adopt a child.

It's apparently an email and web site campaign.

Stafford so far has raised $22,516 in personal donations from 18 persons, six of whom are connected to RAND PAC, according to WT.

Stafford justified the money raise to WT by saying adopting a baby was expensive.

I wonder what the creatives on TEAM RAND  will raise money for next: The surprise costs of getting pregnant.

WT seems to be working the conflict of interest angle:
Mr. Stafford serves as RAND PAC’s executive director. Its staff and advisers are in effect Mr. Paul’s 2016 GOP pre-campaign organization clearing the way for his 2016 election bid...

Until May 2013, Mr. Stafford served as Mr. Paul’s chief of staff in the Senate, where he was covered by strict ethics rules governing solicitations, moonlighting and receipt of gifts. Now at the PAC, those rules don’t apply.

Ethics experts said Mr. Stafford’s actions don’t violate any laws but raise questions of about judgment since his request for money opens the door for special interests to use a donation to the adoption effort to curry favor or access to a soon-to-be presidential candidate.

“Whenever you are dealing with a potential presidential candidate the personal lives of staff are often very much a part of the campaign,” said Kent Cooper, the Federal Election Commission’s former chief of disclosure who now runs the nonpartisan Political Moneyline service that studies money in politics.

“Many potential donors see all these actions of the staff as requests on behalf of the campaign, and that is what he should have known. He should know as the candidate’s chief gatekeeper that anything he does might be construed as maintaining favor with the senator,” he added.

Merrill Matthews, a former ethics professor who is now a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation, agreed.

“People in prominent and public positions, or who can provide access to them, have to be especially careful about asking for donations because others can feel they must contribute if they want to maintain that relationship,” he said. “That perception exists even if there is no connection.”

Mr. Matthews added that the fact that Mr. Stafford’s family is disclosing the donors on the adoption Web site at least creates transparency to his effort.

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