Ron Paul double reimbursement scandal - Printable Version
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Ron Paul double reimbursement scandal - Elijah Craig - 02-21-2012 09:12 PM
Quote:In March 2005, David James called Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) Congressional office for some documentation.
Quote:Roll Call obtained copies of checks from the Liberty Committee to American Express that paid for Paul’s expenses. The records obtained by Roll Call cover about 17 nonconsecutive months. Beyond the 26 flights, documents show an additional 31 flights where it appears Paul was double-reimbursed but the records lack sufficient detail to prove duplicate payments.
RE: Ron Paul double reimbursement scandal - Elijah Craig - 02-22-2012 01:11 PM
Apparently, Paul got reimbursed by the Federal government for airline tickets someone else purchased for him. Not just once or twice... at least 26 times and possibly as many as 57 times. Good for $30k-$70k of taxpayer money over a year and half.
RE: Ron Paul double reimbursement scandal - C_Fresh - 02-22-2012 02:31 PM
Sounds more like a clerical error to me. Certainly a lot cheaper than having a personal jet like several other congressional members. What the article doesn't seem to indicate is what was the result of the 'double payments'. If double payments were made, what happened to the extra one? If there were $10k in double payments for things James group was paying for anyway, why are they trying to collect it from Paul now? Shouldn't it be the government demanding repayment since they were the actual party to make the extra payment? There's a reason why its a good idea to have a 'no receipt, no reimbursement' policy.
Based on the information provided in the article I would say the number is closer to $30k (using $10k from a vague 'almost twenty' flights) if you assume that all the possible flights were indeed double billed. Actual documentation shows less than half were verified and the rest were possible. And this is what troubles me the most about the article, there are several paragraphs that have nothing to do with the topic. Also, the comment about an alleged Ponzi scheme is tossed around but left to the readers imagination instead of elaborating what it was, even generally. Perhaps he was using the wrong term and more accurately should have said 'shell game' which would sound more realistic (if again, vague). The article starts out with some credible information and goes downhill from there into innuendo and speculation. That's not good journalism.
RE: Ron Paul double reimbursement scandal - Elijah Craig - 02-22-2012 03:24 PM
57 clerical errors? They continued after the first time Ron Paul was confronted with it.
There's also a mention of a flight to Denver that cost over $1,000.
RE: Ron Paul double reimbursement scandal - JWK - 02-22-2012 03:41 PM
Quote:Paul recently told James that his office is investigating the payments and will return money to Liberty Committee if duplicate payments are found. Roll Call provided Paul with the documents it used in this report, as well as a summary of James’ recollections. Paul’s office said they are “reviewing” the records.In case someone only reads the excerpts here and doesn't click through.
RE: Ron Paul double reimbursement scandal - C_Fresh - 02-22-2012 03:42 PM
And there was also a flight for just over $400. Thats why I thought that the 'just under 20' total was a better measuring stick because its probably (but not guaranteed) closer to the average cost of flights. 57 errors IF they are all double billings. 26 confirmed and 31 more possible. Like I said, I've got a problem with how the information is presented. It sounds underhanded to me when they make claims that they don't back up with actual documentation.
1. 26 double-billed flights - this is a legit discussion
2. 31 more flights that may possibly have been double billed but unconfirmed - possibly worth discussion
3. Unsubstantiated innuendo of a 'Ponzi scheme' - BS journalism if you do nothing but repeat a claim
4. How the double-billing occurred - I see this as a error on the part of Liberty Committee. THEY paid directly to AMEX by their own admission. And apparently without any documentation on at least one of the occasions. If they paid the card company, it wouldn't go through Paul's office for accounting although I would think something shouldn't have added up somewhere. I'd like more information about that part.
RE: Ron Paul double reimbursement scandal - Elijah Craig - 02-22-2012 03:47 PM
I didn't bring up the "Ponzi scheme" because it doesn't matter to me.
I fill out expense reports all the time. If my boss buys the ticket, I don't expense it to myself. It is my responsibility to know who paid and is owed the money. Once or twice is a mistake. 26-57 times in 17 months is gross negligence at best.
I know people who double expense stuff... or at least I strongly suspect that they do... and if the controller were to catch them they could be fired for it.
RE: Ron Paul double reimbursement scandal - Tiarali - 02-23-2012 12:52 AM
If it was deliberate, then he's untrustworthy. If it was accidental, then he's irresponsible with money. Either way, it doesn't look good.
RE: Ron Paul double reimbursement scandal - C_Fresh - 02-23-2012 09:14 AM
I brought up the unsubstantiated claim of a 'Ponzi scheme' because its in the article as an example of what mostly amounts to inferences and innuendo on the part of the article. There's more filler here than actual fact and the facts that they actually DO present are obfuscated.
But my point is that, according to the information in the article, that foundation was directly paying the credit card company. Nothing stating that any billing stuff on their part was going through Paul's offices. I would assume that they weren't paying for EVERY flight he made. Even based off of the flimsy information provided by the article I think the foundation is as much to blame for this as Paul's offices, maybe more so. Additionally, the credit card was handled by an office in TX while the congressional reimbursement stuff was presumably handled by the DC office.
I see it working something like this:
Paul makes a flight and it happens to be one that the foundation thinks they should pay for.
Financial stuff for the card is handled by office in Texas.
Foundation cuts a check (by their own admission) directly to AMEX (apparently at least once without any documenation since thats what started this).
Finance guy (DC office?) submits a request for reimbursement to whoever that goes to in the government as part of regular filings.
Goverment organization cuts a check for the cost of the flight and the rest of the expenses on the report.
Flight has now been paid for twice (and probably out of different offices).
Eventually, the foundation decides they should have a paper trail and the double-payment comes to light.
Story gets reported on and investigation indicates that 26 flights were double-paid (probably the same way) with 31 more 'possible' flights (admittedly unconfirmed by the report).
Add filler, a non-sequiter about a Ponzi scheme, and use data (allegedly stolen from Texas office) that is beyond standard record-keeping practices (7 years) to make the story more salacious.
I have mixed feelings about Ron Paul but I think I would be making these same arguments for any member of congress . . . even Barney Frank. I'm in no way saying that its OK to intentionally double bill. Paul should repay any occerences that can be validated and his office has said as much. I can reasonably see this as having been unintentional, especially since this was most likely handled by two separate offices (DC and TX).
Quote:Roll Call obtained copies of checks from the Liberty Committee to American Express that paid for Paul’s expenses. The records obtained by Roll Call cover about 17 nonconsecutive months. Beyond the 26 flights, documents show an additional 31 flights where it appears Paul was double-reimbursed but the records lack sufficient detail to prove duplicate payments.What they don't mention is that their nonconsecutive months are spread out over about six years (71 months) and also just happen to all be outside the 7 year records window. The last month or two may have been inside the window during the investigation but were not by the publication date of the story.
Its not ok to misspend taxpayer money. Paul claims to be frugal with congressional funds and returns unused money. I think he should pay back anything he was double-paid for but I think the amount pales in comparison to those in congress who are using taxpayer money for private jet flights (I'm looking at you, Pelosi) which cost more in 1 flight than the foundation is seeking from Paul. Judging by the prices, I'd say he flys coach a fair amount of the time too.
I don't know the details about how the foundation determined if they were paying for a flight. If I were a member of congress, I would have a separate card that I would only use for stuff that I was expecting congressional reimbursement. Anything else goes on other cards. But I'm also a lot more meticulous with my finances than the average person.
RE: Ron Paul double reimbursement scandal - C_Fresh - 02-23-2012 09:21 AM
(02-22-2012 03:24 PM)Elijah Craig Wrote: 57 clerical errors? They continued after the first time Ron Paul was confronted with it.
Whered does it say this? First contact by the foundation was March 05 and all the statements Roll Call linked to were from February 05 and before. They have nothing after that timeframe.