Difference between revisions of "Rand Paul"

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|Place of birth = Pittsburgh, PA
|Place of birth = Pittsburgh, PA
|Profession = Ophthalmologist
|Profession = Ophthalmologist
|Net worth=$864,012
|Net worth=$398,003
|Religion = Presbyterian
|Religion = Presbyterian
|Office website = http://paul.senate.gov/
|Office website = http://paul.senate.gov/

Revision as of 12:00, 15 January 2014

Rand Paul
Rand Paul.jpg
U.S. Senate, Kentucky
In office
Term ends
January 3, 2017
Years in position 4
PredecessorJim Bunning (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Next generalNovember 2016
Campaign $$7,809,324
Term limitsN/A
High schoolBrazoswood High School
Bachelor'sBaylor University
M.D.Duke University
Date of birthJanuary 7, 1963
Place of birthPittsburgh, PA
Net worth$398,003
Office website
Campaign website


Randal Howard "Rand" Paul (b. January 7, 1963, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a Republican member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Kentucky. Paul was first elected to the Senate in 2010.

Paul is considering a run for president in 2016. He has said he plans to make a decision at some point in 2014.[1][2] He declared in late May 2013 that he will seek re-election in 2016 to the United States Senate.[3]

In July 2013 it was revealed that an aide for Paul, Jack Hunter, who serves as Paul's media director and previously co-wrote Paul’s 2011 book, spent part of his 20s as a member of the League of the South.[4][5][6] In addition to his membership in the group, in the early 2000s Hunter began contributing anonymous political commentary to the South Carolina radio station 96 Wave, under the persona the “Southern Avenger.”[4] Hunter is the second Paul staffer to have his views on racial issues revealed publicly.[7]

On March 6, 2013, Paul led a filibuster of President Obama's CIA Director nominee, John Brennan, that lasted 12 hours and 52 minutes - the ninth longest Senate filibuster on record.[8] In addition to delaying the final vote on Brennan's confirmation, Paul's stated intention was to highlight his concerns about the Obama Administration's drone policies.[8]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Paul is an average Republican member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Republican Party on the majority of bills.


Paul was born in 1963 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Lake Jackson, Texas. He attended Baylor University and received his M.D. from Duke University Medical School. Prior to his election to the Senate, Paul worked as an ophthalmologist in Bowling Green, Kentucky[9]

Paul is the son of former Republican Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul.[10]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Paul's professional and political career[9]:

  • Ophthalmologist in Bowling Green, KY
  • U.S. Senate, 2011-Present

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Paul serves on the following Senate committees[11]:


Paul served on the following Senate committees[12]:


Political positions

Paul considers himself a "libertarian Republican."[13]

Presidential rumblings

Possible candidacy in 2016

On November 18, 2013, Paul spoke of potential presidential candidates in 2016, saying, "I think they want someone outside of, you know, what’s been going on. For example, someone like myself who has been promoting term limits. Someone who says we shouldn’t have, you know, decade after decade longevity up here...And I think I’m, enough, new here to still be perceived as an outsider, should that be the choice at sometime in 2016."[14]

Potential Chris Christie run

When asked on November 18, 2013, about a potential Gov. Chris Christie run, Paul responded that governors are not necessarily outsiders just because they are not stationed in the District of Columbia.[14]

“I don’t know that a governor is necessarily an outsider. A governor can be an insider as much as anybody else,” he said.[14]

He added, “You know, depends on how you define that; if you have a very loose definition, probably. If you look at a lot of issues like on whether or not we should accept Obamacare, bring it to our state, expand Medicaid: those would be, I think at best, moderate positions. But I think we have room for moderates in our party."[14]

Meetings with Murdoch and Ailes

In early November 2013, Paul reportedly met privately with both News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and Fox News head Roger Ailes.[15]

The individual meetings came as Paul had been working to smooth concerns among Republicans and others about whether he shares his famous libertarian father’s views on issues like national security.[15]

Bipartisan coffee talk

On October 4, 2013, the third day of the of the government shutdown, Paul invited Senate and House members to a “bipartisan coffee” on the steps of the Senate to “see if we can get along.”[16]

Only seven members of Congress, including a single Democratic member, showed up. Tom Carper (D-DE) was the only Democratic member to attend.[17] Other attendees included John Barrasso, Johnny Isakson, Susan Collins, Thomas Massie, Brett Guthrie and Mick Mulvaney. The informal gathering lasted a bit over half an hour.[17] John Boozman and Roger Wicker showed up a few minutes after the gathering broke up.[17]

Trip to South Carolina August 2013

On the eve of a trip to South Carolina, Rand Paul said in an interview on August 23, 2013, he is “unlikely” to get involved in the brewing Senate primary there between incumbent Lindsey Graham and several would-be conservative challengers.[18]

Paul will appear at a barbecue hosted by Jeff Duncan (R), reportedly a “friend from playing on the baseball team together,” Paul said, and plans to keep talking up his resistance to what he views as unnecessary overseas spending.[18]

Paul has clashed with Graham in recent months over Paul's support for reducing U.S. foreign aid, specifically to Egypt.[18] Paul proposed cutting off aid to the North African nation after the military seized power there, while Graham initially opposed that proposal.[18]

“The message I’ve been talking a lot about lately is we don’t have enough money to be sending it overseas and squandering it,” Paul said, suggesting military assistance to Egypt would be “counterproductive. If you’re an Egyptian and you’re protesting your government in the street and you’re facing down an American tank, it doesn’t give you a warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart for America. I don’t know what more tanks are going to do for them, or more fighter jets or more tear gas.”[19]

Multiple Graham challengers have criticized his general support for foreign engagement: State senator Lee Bright blasted Graham as a “community organizer for the Muslim Brotherhood,” while Nancy Mace criticized the incumbent earlier this month for standing “with our president to support a failed foreign policy.”[18] Graham revised his views on Egypt in August 2013 in response to spiraling violence against protesters on the ground there and has called for a suspension of aid.

Without naming names, Paul said he’s not entirely convinced by his fellow Republicans who have shifted stances on aid to Egypt, questioning whether they’d seek to continue sending cash to Egypt by backdoor means. But, he said, “It’s a debate that ultimately is coming in our direction.”[18]

Of the South Carolina primary, Paul said: “I’ve met, I think, all three of the challengers, and like I said, I haven’t made a decision and I think it’s probably unlikely that I’ll get involved.”[18]

Paul has toured South Carolina and other early 2016 states — including New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada — throughout 2013, and has raised his national profile by speaking out in a series of Washington debates related to the size and national security powers of the federal government.[18] While Paul has spoken out against expansive government surveillance programs — and the hypothetical domestic use of drones — he declined to join his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, in praising military leaker Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for handing over secret documents to the website WikiLeaks.[18]

September 2013 NYC event

Six of the Republican Party’s leaders and potential 2016 nominees jointly headlined a fundraiser for the Republican National Committee (RNC) in New York in September 2013.

According to an invitation that went out August 26, 2013, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Jets owner Woody Johnson hosted the event September 23, 2013.[20] It will be held at Johnson’s home.[20]

It was a dinner and reception with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Senators Marco Rubio and Paul and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, as well as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Rep. Paul Ryan, who were listed as the “special guests.”[20]

It represents a major force of star power at a single event on behalf of the party and features some of the party’s brightest future talent, many of whom represent different wings of the GOP.[20]

Gov. Chris Christie

During a speaking engagement in Colorado in July 2013, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), controversially stated, "I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. … I’m very nervous about the direction this is moving in." This was in reference to a growing number of conservative congressmen who have publicly denounced the recent news of NSA wiretapping. Paul is among these legislators. The next week, Paul responded by criticizing Christie, stating, "Those are the people who are bankrupting the government and not letting enough money be left over for national defense."[21]

Iowa's GOP Lincoln Day Dinner 2013

Paul was the headliner of the annual Iowa Lincoln Day Dinner in June 2013. This year was the first time in recent years that it sold out almost two weeks in advance. The main topic of his speech was immigration reform, a hot topic due to the Gang of Eight legislation, where he outlined his own version of immigration reform which included allowing illegal immigrants to continue working in the country.[22]


Mitch McConnell

See also: United States Senate elections in Kentucky, 2014

Senator Paul declared his support for incumbent Mitch McConnell in his primary battle against challenger Matt Bevin.[23] In response to Bevin's decision to challenge McConnell he said, “I’m not giving him encouragement or discouragement. It’s a free country and anyone who wants to run can. I have endorsed Sen. McConnell.”[23] As the 2014 election progresses Paul increasingly must perform a careful balancing act: Show complete support for McConnell, while avoiding alienating the same tea party supporters who helped him in 2010 and whom he’ll need in 2016.[23]

Steve Lonegan

See also: United States Senate special election in New Jersey, 2013

Paul said on August 21, 2013 that he has met with Steve Lonegan and is planning to help him in his special election campaign.[24] “We’re considering trying to help him out,” Paul said. “In all likelihood, we’ll go in and either financially or try to help him through an endorsement or something,” Paul said.[24]

Lonegan’s campaign announced on September 3, 2013, that Paul will join him in Clark, New Jersey, on September 13, 2013 for an afternoon “Liberty and Victory Rally.”[25]

Mocking of Cory Booker

As part of his reasoning behind his decision to campaign for Republican nominee Steve Lonegan, Paul made jabs at Cory Booker as a politician with “an imaginary friend with imaginary problems” on September 6, 2013. The statement is in reference to reports about the Newark drug lord named “T-Bone,” whom Booker has said he befriended.[26]

“If Cory will introduce me to T-Bone when I get there, I’d love to meet T-Bone. If T-Bone’s not real, maybe we need to get Mr. Booker to talk about real problems,” Paul said in an interview.[26]

Paul also described Lonegan as a solid conservative and “defender of the Fourth Amendment” who impressed him during a visit to Washington over the summer.[26]

Booker spokesman Kevin Griffis responded to Paul’s comments by saying that the former Bogota mayor would “raise taxes on the working and middle classes and privatize Social Security, and he even opposed Hurricane Sandy aid."[26]

“As mayor and as a leader of the Tea Party in New Jersey, Mr. Lonegan has only proven that he cares about the plight of the ultra-wealthy and big corporations,” Griffis said.[26]



Washington Times ends column

The Washington Times announced it was ending Paul's column on November 5, 2013, after it was discovered that a portion of his column was plagiarized.[27]

Washington Times article

In a September 2013 article Paul wrote for The Washington Times, he allegedly copied the work of another essay that previously appeared in The Week magazine, written by Dan Stewart, an editor for The Week.[28]

In an interview on "This Week" on November 3, 2013, Paul acknowledged previous allegations of plagiarism, saying that he had been “sloppy,” but also claimed he had been unfairly "targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters."[28]

Heritage Foundation case study

Reports circulated on November 2, 2013, that an entire section, 1,318 words, of Paul's August 2013 book Government Bullies was taken from a 2003 case study by the Heritage Foundation.[29][30] The accusation comes after repeated reports that Paul had plagiarized speeches either from Wikipedia or news reports.[29] In the footnotes of the text, Paul included a link to the Heritage case study but failed to indicate the entire passage, not just the source, had been taken from the Heritage Foundation.[29]

An aide for Paul defended him, saying he makes clear in the book that he did not individually research each case.[29]

“In the book Government Bullies all the information… was sourced by end notes. In the two cases described, the end notes clearly define the sourcing for the book. In no case has the senator used information without attribution,” said Doug Stafford, an advisor to Sen. Paul who co-wrote the book. “There were 150 endnotes and cites including The Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute. This is a witch hunt and grasping at straws.”[29]

Speech information from Wikipedia

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said on October 30, 2013, that she uncovered a second speech in which Paul took material from Wikipedia to describe a movie.[31]

On October 28, 2013, Maddow compared Paul’s speech at Liberty University to the Wikipedia entry on “Gattaca” and found several nearly verbatim passages. On her show on October 29, 2013, she drew attention to a March 19, 2013, speech that Paul gave at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in which he talked about the movie “Stand and Deliver.”[31]

Maddow reportedly found the March 19, 2013, speech video after Buzzfeed reported about a similar reference to “Stand and Deliver” in a June 12, 2013, speech Paul gave at an immigration forum.[31]

Yellen's nomination for Federal Reserve

In a statement released on October 30, 2013, Paul said he would put a “hold” on Janet Yellen’s nomination as the next chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, in an attempt promote his call for legislation that would require audits and other public scrutiny of the Federal Reserve System.[32]

“The American people have a right to know what this institution is doing with the nation’s money supply,” Paul said in the statement. “The Federal Reserve does not need prolonged secrecy—it needs to be audited, and my bipartisan Federal Reserve Transparency Act will do just that.”[32]

Aide's pro-secessionist history

Jack Hunter, an aide for Paul, who served as Paul's media director and previously co-wrote Paul’s 2011 book, spent part of his 20s as a member of the League of the South, a group which “advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.”[4][5][33] In 1999, Hunter was listed as chairman of the group’s Charleston, S.C., chapter.[5]

In a statement Hunter said, “When I was part of it, they were very explicit that’s not what they were about. I was a young person, it was a fairly radical group - the same way a person on the left might be attracted in college to some left-wing radical groups.”[4]

In addition to his membership in the group, in the early 2000s Hunter began contributing anonymous political commentary to the South Carolina radio station 96 Wave, under the persona the “Southern Avenger.”[4] As the “Southern Avenger,” Hunter would wear a mask printed with a Confederate flag to public appearances.[4]

Hunter is the second Paul staffer to have his views on racial issues revealed publicly.[34]

Aide resigns from campaign

On July 22, 2013, it was announced that Hunter resigned his position as an aide for Paul's campaign, and will resume his career as a pundit, saying that he did not want to be a distraction for the Senator, who is considered a top potential 2016 presidential candidate.[35][36][37][38][39][40]

In a statement regarding the matter Hunter wrote, “I’ve long been a conservative, and years ago, a much more politically incorrect (and campy) one. But there’s a significant difference between being politically incorrect and racist. I’ve also become far more Libertarian over the years, a philosophy that encourages a more tolerant worldview, through the lens of which I now look back on some of my older comments with embarrassment.”[35]

Paul stood by Hunter when the story initially broke, saying Hunter's past comments were “absolutely stupid,” but that he didn’t think he held any racist views.[35]

Legislative actions

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 224 out of the 3215 introduced bills (7 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[41] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Paul's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[42]

National security

American response in Syria
See also: United States involvement in Syria

Paul released a brief statement on the situation in Syria on August 28, 2013, calling for a cautious approach and congressional approval for any military action.[43]

He also questioned the administration’s assertion that the Syrian regime definitely used chemical weapons. Vice President Biden has said there is “no doubt” that it did.[43]

“We should ascertain who used the weapons and we should have an open debate in Congress over whether the situation warrants U.S. involvement,” Paul said. “The Constitution grants the power to declare war to Congress, not the President.”[43]

Paul also said that he doesn’t think taking sides in the conflict would create any new allies. “The war in Syria has no clear national security connection to the United States, and victory by either side will not necessarily bring in to power people friendly to the United States,” Paul said.[43]

Paul joined with dozens of members in the House calling on President Obama to seek congressional approval for any action.[43]

Committee vote on Syria
See also: United States involvement in Syria

Nay3.png On September 4, 2013, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly approved an authorization for President Obama to use limited force against Syria.[44][45]

The vote came after a three-hour briefing with top Obama administration officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.[46]

Of the nine Democratic members and eight Republican members that make up the committee, seven Democrats and three Republicans voted in favor, while five Republicans and two Democrats opposed the authorization.[46] A single "present" vote was cast by Ed Markey (D). Paul was one of the five Republicans who opposed the authorization.[47]

Syria authorization amendment

Paul announced that he will introduce an amendment that will make the Congressional authorization on Syria action a binding vote.[48] Paul said on September 4, 2013, in an appearance on Fox & Friends, “So this morning I will introduce an amendment to the resolution in committee and I will ask to make it a binding vote and that Congress acknowledge that this is Congressional authority and that we have the ability to grant it to the President, but the President doesn’t have the ability to initiate war without Congressional authority. That’s what the Constitution says."[48]

Paul, who is against U.S. intervention in Syria, said he was “proud of the President” for asking Congress for authority, but said he wanted Sec. John Kerry in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing to “admit we have the authority and if the vote goes against you, that it’s a binding vote.”[48]

When asked if he will filibuster again, the Senator acknowledged that it “only temporarily slows things down” and added, “what I will try to do is I will try to lead the opposition.”[48]

“As people saw when I did this previously, you can talk for only so long and eventually nature calls. So you can slow things down and sometimes get an answer to things, but you can’t permanently delay.”[48] He continued, “I can’t imagine we won’t require 60 votes on this. Whether there is an actual standing filibuster, I’ve got to check my shoes.”[49]

Paul later said he has no plans to filibuster a resolution authorizing U.S. military force in Syria. Paul responded to an inquiry by Tim Kaine during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee debate on a new version of a resolution authorizing force by saying, "That would be a misinterpretation from the media."[50]

Editorial to CNN

Paul submitted an opinion editorial to CNN on August 29, 2013, in which he urged President Barack Obama not to rush into a war, saying "America's wars must be debated by Congress, declared constitutionally and fought only for the interests and security of the United States. They should never be fought to save face."[51]

Obama objective is stalemate

Paul said on August 30, 2013 that he thinks the Obama administration’s only objective in Syria is “stalemate” and he does not support “sending my son, your son or anyone else’s son to fight if your goal or objective is stalemate.”[52]

“I think we have no strategic objective and I don’t think it’ll change the course of the war,” Paul told Fox News. “In fact, one of the things that troubles me is that we’ve already announced in advance well, it’s not going to be too much of an attack, it’s not going to last too long and we’re not for regime change.”[52]

“And I’ve told them, frankly, I’m not sending my son, your son or anyone else’s son to fight if your goal or objective is stalemate,” Paul said. “That’s not what Americans are about.”[52]

Paul also appeared on Fox News on August 29, 2013, and said he “can’t see fighting to impose Sharia law in Syria.”

“I also can’t see sending my son to fight with Islamic rebels against Christians,” Paul said “I also can’t see my son going to fight on the same side as Al Qaeda. There’s so many ironies and unfortunate muddling nature to this that I can’t see why we should get involved, and there are potential repercussions.”[52]

Foreign aid to Egypt

On July 11, 2013, Paul introduced legislation that would cut off foreign aid to Egypt following the military ousting of President Mohamed Morsi.[53]

Paul made several comments prior to introducing the legislation, insisting that the events in Egypt constitute a military coup and has criticized the Obama administration for its commitment to continue providing foreign aid to the country.[53] The United States is forbidden by law to give aid to countries where a military overthrow of a democratically elected government has occurred. The administration has maintained, however, that the events in Egypt do not constitute a coup.[53]

“By the President’s refusal to call the situation in Egypt a ‘coup’ and continuing the flow of foreign assistance to Egypt, he is forthrightly saying ‘I am ignoring the rule of law,’” Paul said in a statement.[53]

Paul’s bill is the first legislation in Congress directly addressing the matter, but several other senators, most notably John McCain (R), have expressed the belief that the U.S. should withhold aid to Egypt.[53]

Criticism from Peter King

Peter King (R-NY) speaking about Paul in an interview on CNN on August 1, 2013.

Peter King (R-NY) made remarks in July 2013 that Paul is leading the Republican Party in a dangerous direction and compared him to 1972 Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern.[54]

“When you have Rand Paul actually comparing (NSA leaker Edward) Snowden to Martin Luther King or Henry David Thoreau, this is madness,” King said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “This is the anti-war, left-wing Democrats of the 1960s that nominated George McGovern and destroyed their party for almost 20 years. I don’t want that to happen to our party."[54]

King also said it was “disturbing” that 94 of the 234 House Republicans voted for a measure that would have defunded the National Security Agency’s phone record collection program.[54]

King, the former House homeland security committee chairman, has suggested he might run for president in 2016, if for no other reason than to be a voice in opposition to Paul's foreign policy views.[54]

“Aid to Egypt has nothing to do with aid to Long Island, or New Jersey. They’re two separate issues and he should know the difference between Egypt, Long Island and New York … Sen. Paul claims to be a great friend of Israel but yesterday the ambassador to Israel … said that continuing American aid to Egypt is essential to maintain the peace process and maintain the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement that was negotiated under President Carter over 30 years ago,” King said in an interview. “So it’s very easy to say ‘cut this, cut that,’ you can have an intelligence debate about it, but so far he hasn’t shown very much intelligence.”[55]

King also argued Paul and his libertarian-leaning views on foreign policy were making "America the enemy."[56] "He wants to retreat from the world. He wants to isolate ourselves, go back to a fortress America. The Republicans had this debate back in the 1930s, when you had the isolationist and the Charles Lindberghs, and the Democrats had it in the 1960s when the anti-war movement blamed America first. In both cases it hurt the party for years," King said in an interview on CNN on August 1, 2013.[56]

NSA controversy

In June 2013, The Guardian reported about a secret surveillance program where the NSA obtained phone records of millions of customers.[57] Paul is considering a class-action lawsuit against the National Security Agency over the large-scale surveillance program that was gathering data on American citizens. Paul also said he would consider taking it to the Supreme Court.[58][59] Paul called the NSA surveillance program an "astounding assault on the Constitution."[60]

Criticism from Dick Cheney

In June 2013, former vice president Dick Cheney criticized Paul's views that the NSA's surveillance programs infringed on the privacy of American citizens by arguing that most of the current Congress was not present immediately after the 9/11 attacks, and thus did not fully understand the circumstances that led to the adoption of the NSA programs. Cheney stated, "When you consider the possibility of somebody smuggling something like a nuclear device into the United States, it becomes very, very important to gather intelligence on your enemies and stop that attack before it ever gets launched.”[61]

Paul responded to criticism from the former vice president by blaming Cheney and the Bush administration’s pre-9/11 intelligence failures and subsequent security policies, which Paul blasted as incompatible with the U.S. Constitution. “Really, someone should have been removed from office for that,” said Paul, “and they should have said this is never going to happen again." Paul continued: "Instead they said, ‘oh, we need to look at the records of all the innocent Americans’ phone calls every day.' And I think you need to have a respect for the Bill of Rights, a respect for privacy and particularly a respect for the fourth amendment.”[62]

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "No" Paul voted against the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[63]

Drones filibuster
See also: Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 2013

Rand Paul takes the floor on March 6, 2013 for a 13-hour filibuster on CIA Director confirmation and drone use. This video is the first hour.

On March 6, 2013, Paul led a filibuster of President Obama's CIA Director nominee, John Brennan that lasted 12 hours and 52 minutes - the ninth longest Senate filibuster on record.[8][64][65] In addition to delaying the final vote on Brennan's confirmation, Paul's stated intention was to highlight his concerns about the Obama Administration's drone policies.[8][65] Particularly, whether a drone could be used to kill an American citizen within the United States border, without any due process involved. Paul and other civil liberties activists have been critical that President Obama did not offer a clear response to the question. "I’ve come here to speak for as long as I can to draw attention to something that I find to really be very disturbing," he stated during the speech.[66] "Your notification is the buzz of propellers on the drone as it flies overhead in the seconds before you're killed. Is that what we really want from our government?" Paul prompted ominously[67] He went on to denounce lack of transparency in the drone program, asking "What will be the standard for how we kill Americans in America?... Could political dissent be part of the standard for drone strikes?"[68][69] Paul concluded his remarks asking for his counterparts on the other side of the aisle to join him in his efforts to obtain clarification from the president.

A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat -- [70] and 30 Republican Senators reportedly did not support the filibuster.[71][72][73] Most prominent among Paul's GOP colleagues to rebuke him for his tactics were Senators John McCain (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC).[74] The day after the filibuster, McCain gave a speech in which he accused Paul of fear-mongering, pointing to his previous day's remarks about the United States government being able to use a drone to kill an American citizen who spoke out against government policy. He stated, "To somehow say that someone who disagrees with American policy and even may demonstrate against it, is somehow a member of an organization which makes that individual an enemy combatant is simply false."[74] Reinforcing McCain's argument, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul, responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."[75]

Paul's fellow Senator from Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), supported the filibuster, advising Senate Republicans to hold off on Brennan's confirmation vote until the Obama Administration addresses Paul’s concerns on drone use.[76] Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (TX), Marco Rubio (FL), Pat Toomey (PA), and nine others, including Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, also participated.[77][78]


Budget Proposal

Paul announced he opposed the bipartisan budget proposal that Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray released on December 10, 2013.[79]

Sen. Paul will oppose the reported cap busting deal,” Doug Stafford, Paul’s senior adviser, said. “He opposes increasing spending and undoing the minimal sequester cuts in current law, which weren’t even close to enough to begin with.”[79]

“I cannot support a budget that raises taxes and never balances, nor can I support a deal that does nothing to reduce our nation’s $17.3 trillion debt,” Paul said in a statement.[79]

Government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "No" During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funds the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[80] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Paul voted with the Republican Party against the bill.[81]

Statement on government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

After the government shutdown went into effect, Paul said on October 1, 2013, that he would support a short-term funding measure “to keep the government open while we negotiate.”[82]

“I think what we could do is pass a very short term, maybe not six weeks, but what about one week, so we could negotiate over a week," Paul said. "I think a continuing bill to keep the government open while we negotiate is a good idea. I do agree that negotiating with the government closed probably to [Democrats] appears like strong-arm tactics.”[82]

“I think if we did it for a week or two, we could still continue to negotiate, have a conference committee and really I think the American people do want us to work this out,” Paul added.[82]

WWII memorial closure
See also: United States budget debate, 2013#WWII Memorial

Paul condemned the federal government for trying to block World War II vets from visiting their memorial, saying “some idiot in government sent goons out there to set up barricades.”

“If Harry Reid and the president want to keep the parks closed — I mean did you read the story today? Some idiot in government sent goons out there to set up barricades so they couldn’t see the monument. People had to spend hours setting up barricades where there are never barricades to prevent people from seeing the World War II monument because they’re trying to play a charade,” Rand said on October 1, 2013.[83]

Paul’s attack comes after reports that a group of World War II veterans had to break down barricades to access the National World War II Memorial, one of the sites that was closed due to the government shutdown.[83]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "No" Paul voted against H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspended the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.[63]

2013 Senate Budget Proposal

Voted "No" Paul voted against the 2013 Senate Budget Proposal.[63] On March 23, after an all-night debate that ended just before 5 a.m., by a 50 to 49 vote the Democratically controlled Senate approved its first budget in four years. No Republicans voted for the Senate plan, and four Democrats opposed it. All four are from red states and are up for re-election in 2014. Paul was one of the four Democrats who voted against the budget proposal.[63]

The approved plan is a $3.7 trillion budget for 2014 and would provide a fast track for passage of tax increases, trim spending modestly and leave the government still deeply in the red for the next decade.

The approval of a budget in the Senate began the process of setting up contentious, and potentially fruitless, negotiations with the Republican-controlled House starting in April to reconcile two vastly different plans for dealing with the nation’s economic and budgetary problems.

The House plan would have brought the government’s taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic spending even below the levels of automatic across-the-board cuts for federal programs now, and it orders up dramatic and controversial changes to Medicare and the tax code.

The Senate plan differed greatly, and included $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to bolster the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years in legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the plan approved by the Senate would leave the government with a $566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window.

Paul Ryan Budget Proposal

Nay3.png In March 2013 the U.S. Senate soundly rejected a balanced budget plan by House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan (R).[84] Five Republicans joined every Democrat present to kill the measure, which failed on a 40-59 vote.[84]

Paul was one of the five Senate Republicans who voted against Ryan's budget proposal.[84]

The proposed budget would have cut about $5 trillion over the next decade and aimed to balance the budget by the end of the 10-year period.[85]

Some tea party members of the GOP opposed the measure because of its reliance on $600 billion-plus in tax revenues on the wealthy enacted in January 2013, in order to balance the budget.[84] Others in the Senate opposed the Ryan plan because of cuts from safety net programs for the poor and the inclusion of a plan to turn the Medicare program for the elderly into a voucher-like system for future beneficiaries born in 1959 or later.[84]


Gang of Eight
See also: Gang of Eight

In May 2013, Paul said that he supports stronger border-security provisions and more work visas. He said he would not support immigration legislation without those provisions. "The main problem with illegal immigration is that we don't have enough legal immigration," Paul said.[86] In June 2013, Paul said he would support comprehensive immigration reform if his amendment increasing congressional oversight on border security is accepted. Paul's amendment, if approved, would require the Department of Homeland Security to implement border security measures such as additional fencing along the U.S-Mexico border. Congress would also be given a yearly report before voting whether the agency met its goals. The number of legal work visas approved would be tied to whether metrics are met.[87]

On June 23, 2013, Paul announced he will vote against the final Senate immigration reform bill because it does not guarantee border security.[88] “I’m all in favor of immigration reform but I’m like most conservatives in the country [in] that I think reform should be dependent on border security first,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union”.[89]

Paul went on to say that the bill could actually lead to higher future levels of illegal immigration because of caps on work visas for agricultural workers.[89] He previously introduced an amendment that would have required Congress to vote on whether border security goals have been met before granting legal status to millions of illegal immigrants. The Senate rejected Paul’s proposal at the end of June 2013.[89]

Mexico-U.S. border

Voted "Yes" Paul voted for Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[63]


Unlikely to defeat Obamacare

In a statement on September 21, 2013, Paul acknowledged that it is unlikely that Republicans in Congress will be able to defeat Obamacare.[90]

“We probably can’t defeat or get rid of Obamacare,” Paul said in a statement.

However, he did note that efforts by Republicans in the House to defund Obamacare in its government funding bill could lead to a compromise.[90]

Anti-Obamacare rally

Senators Ted Cruz, Paul and Mike Lee, who have been leading calls in the Senate to defund Obamacare in any spending bills, took part in a September 10, 2013 "Exempt America from Obamacare" event, organized by Tea Party Patriots and ForAmerica, along with other conservative groups.[91]

Democrats will stop at nothing to protect the president’s signature legislation, and too many Republicans are afraid to fight,” rally organizers wrote.[91] They also took a shot at the Office of Personnel Management rule allowing the federal government to continue subsidizing health plans for lawmakers and their aides.[91] “Even Big Government is getting a carve out now,” they wrote.[91]

The rally comes after 80 House members signed a letter in August 2013, calling on Congress to defund the health care law in upcoming fiscal battles.[91]

Petition to defund Obamacare

Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio found agreement in defunding President Barack Obama’s health care law in August 2013 and both of the senators are gathering petitions to defund the law.[92]

The Campaign for Liberty, which is chaired by Paul's father Ron Paul, has been sharply critical of Rubio’s stances on foreign affairs and immigration reform.[92] However, the Campaign for Liberty and Rubio stressed similar lines of attack against Obama’s health care law.[92]

In a message sent out to supporters on August 23, 2013, John Tate, the president of the Campaign for Liberty, pointed toward Congress returning to Washington in September. “Another opportunity may not come around until it is too late to reverse the damage Obamacare is doing to our health care and our liberty,” Tate insisted. “Next month, Congress will consider a ‘continuing resolution’ (CR) to keep taxpayer dollars flowing to the federal bureaucracy. Senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul are spearheading an effort to attach language defunding Obamacare to the CR. This would force President Obama, Harry Reid, and their statist cronies to choose between funding all their other big-spending schemes or defunding what they see as their signature ‘accomplishment.’”[92]

Tate offered harsh words for some of the GOP leadership in the Republican-controlled House. “Some Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, are heading for the tall grass, claiming it would be ‘irresponsible’ to force Obama to choose between admitting his health care plan is a disaster or funding his other favorite programs,” Tate insisted. “They would rather bask in the approval of the Beltway media than obey their promise to you to fight to repeal Obamacare.”[92]

The Campaign for Liberty is running a petition calling for the defunding of the health care law. Reclaim America, a PAC affiliated with Rubio, will also be running its own petitions to defund the law.[92]

Social issues

Illegal substances

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) called for Paul to testify as a witness on a mandatory drug minimum panel on September 18, 2013. The hearings concerned the effectiveness of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders.[93]

Felons' voting rights

On September 16, 2013, Paul stated that he would work to reinstate voting rights of convicted felons who have completed their sentences.[94]

Violence Against Women (2013)

Voted "No" Paul voted against S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[63]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "No" Paul voted against the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. He was one of five Republicans that voted against the bill. The bill was passed in the Senate by a 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[95]

Second Amendment

Paul believes "gun control laws only restrict access to responsible gun ownership." He opposes "any proposed gun control law which would limit the right to gun ownership by those who are responsible, law-abiding citizens."[96]

Paul expanded his criticism of gun control laws to include the Patriot Act, which in his view "gives the government the right to search your home without a warrant, when you're not home, leave listening devices, and use any and all information to create a prosecution on any charge regardless of their original reason for the search." Paul believes that the Second Amendment is protected only as far as the Fourth Amendment is protected. He states that unless Americans are free from "unreasonable searches and seizures," their Second Amendment rights are not fully protected.[97]


On energy policy, Paul opposes government subsidies for solar and wind power, claiming such involvement destroys incentives for energy innovation and encourages more lobbying by companies "with the most political clout." Paul supports cutting taxes and eliminating regulations on those businesses involved with developing new sources of energy.[98]

Hemp legalization

Paul supports the legalization of hemp.[99][100]

Debt and spending

Paul has criticized Republicans who "dramatically increased federal spending" after lowering taxes during the Bush administration, leading to an unbalanced budget.[101]

Paul also introduced legislation in 2011 to cut the deficit by $500 billion within one year.[102][103] His budget plan, introduced in 2011, sought to balance the federal budget within 5 years.[104][105]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Rand Paul endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [106]



As speculation swirled as to whether or not Paul would announce in early April, his campaign released a video on April 6, 2015, indicating an announcement would be made on April 7, 2015, at a rally in Louisville, Ky. Two hours before the rally, his website was updated with the following quote from Paul, "I am running for president to return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government."[107]

Video released by Paul's campaign on April 6.

Previously, on December 8, 2013, Paul said that his family would determine whether or not he would run for president, claiming, "The thought has crossed my mind ... I'm not ready to make a decision yet."[108] Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R), Rand Paul's father, ran for the presidency three times, including once as a Libertarian in 1988.[109] There have been 16 U.S. senators elected to the presidency, including President Barack Obama (D).[110]


On November 2, 2010, Paul won election to the United States Senate. The race attracted more than $8.5 million dollars in outside spending.[111]

Paul was a surprising victor over the favorite, former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, in the primary election.[112][113][114]

Paul defeated Jack Conway (D) and Billy Ray Wilson (Write-In) in the general election.[115]

U.S. Senate, Kentucky General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRand Paul 55.7% 755,706
     Democratic Jack Conway 44.2% 600,052
     Independent Billy Ray Wilson 0% 338
Total Votes 1,356,096

U.S. Senate Republican Primary Election, Kentucky Republican Primary, 2010
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngRand Paul 58.8% 206,986
Trey Grayson 35.4% 124,864
Bill Johnson 2.2% 7,861
John Stephenson 2% 6,885
Gurley L. Martin 0.8% 2,850
Jon Scribner 0.8% 2,829
Total Votes 352,275

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Paul is available dating back to 2010. Based on available campaign finance records, Paul raised a total of $7,809,324 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 3, 2013.[116]

Rand Paul's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2010 U.S. Senate (Kentucky) Won $7,809,324
Grand Total Raised $7,809,324


Lobbyist contributions

In an analysis by Open Secrets of the Top 10 Recipients of Contributions from Lobbyists in 2013, Paul was 1 of 115 members of Congress who did not report any contributions from lobbyists in 2013 as of July 3, 2013.[117]


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Paul is a "rank-and-file Republican," as of June 21, 2013.[118]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[119]

Paul most often votes with:

Paul least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Paul missed 23 of 578 roll call votes from January 2011 to March 2013. This amounts to 4.00%, which is worse than the median of 1.7% among currently serving senators as of March 2013.[120]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Paul paid his congressional staff a total of $1,454,975 in 2011. He ranks fifth on the list of the lowest paid Republican senatorial staff salaries and ranks fifth overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Kentucky ranks 40th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[121]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Paul's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $231,006 and $565,000. That averages to $398,003, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican senators in 2012 of $6,956,438.47. Paul ranked as the 86th most wealthy senator in 2012.[122]

Rand Paul Yearly Net Worth
YearAvg. Net Worth% Difference from previous year

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year.


Paul ranked 6th in the conservative rankings in 2012.[123]


Paul ranked 32nd in the conservative rankings in 2011.[124]

Voting with party


Paul voted with the Republican Party 83.6% of the time, which ranked 38th among the 46 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.[125]


Paul has been married to his wife Kelley (nee Ashby) since 1993. They live in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and have three sons: William, Duncan, and Robert.[9]

Paul is the first Senator to have served simultaneously with a parent, Ron Paul (R), in the United States House of Representatives.[126][127]

Strategy Group for Media

In July 2013, it was announced that Kelley Paul was no longer a staff member of Strategy Group for Media, a conservative consulting firm. The firm has previously worked on Sen. Paul's television ads in his 2010 race, Senate candidate Todd Akin's campaign and Michele Bachmann's 2012 presidential bid, among other campaigns.[128]

Pro bono eye surgeries

During his recess from Congress in August 2013 Paul performed pro-bono eye surgeries.[129][130] “Because of Senate rules [Paul] wasn’t able to keep his practice for profit but … to keep his skills honed and well as to be able to continue to practice, the only way he’s able to do that is if he does it as pro bono work,” said Paul’s communication director, Moira Bagley.[129] “So there are various eye clinics around the state that will donate their facilities, and their nurses, and their follow-up appointments, their equipment for Dr. Paul to come and perform surgeries on pre-screened candidates.”[129]

According to Bagley, the senator views it as a way to give back to Kentucky and tries to do the pro bono surgeries about four or five times each year on about four or five patients.[129]

“Most of these surgeries are for cataracts, and these are people that don’t have insurance, that are low-income cases. … I’d say a lot of them are elderly but he’s been doing this since he came to Congress as a way to continue to practice and to … give back to the state,” she said, adding that Paul has done surgeries from Pikeville to Paducah and places in between.[129]

Recent news

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See also

External links


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Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Bunning
U.S. Senate - Kentucky
Succeeded by