Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul is facing fire from members of the Tea Party over his decision to attend a fundraiser hosted by GOP lawmakers who voted for the 2008 Wall Street bailout.
Paul made a pledge that he would not accept fundraising assistance from Republican backers of the $700 billion package, but that didn't deter the conservative hopeful from descending upon Washington, DC last month to collect campaign cash alongside GOP lawmakers who voted in favor of the measure.
Moreover, the Tea Party-backed contender and self-proclaimed fiscal conservative reportedly has plans in the works to appear at a New York City fundraiser hosted by multimillionaire Steve Forbes next week. Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton confirmed the $1,000-per-person event is set to take place and noted to CNN that Forbes "was an early supporter of the campaign" and "endorsed [Paul] very early on, back in September of '09."
Nevertheless, Paul contends that his fundraising endeavors aren't reminiscent of a failure to keep his earlier campaign promise. Tea Party supporters of the Senate hopeful however, seem to disagree.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports:
"I am deeply disappointed that he did that," said Warren Scoville of London, an attorney who served more than 20 years in various positions with the state Republican Party. "I voted for (Paul) because of where he was, and now he's not where he was."
Scoville said he probably won't vote for Paul in November. The effort to raise money with McConnell raises questions about whether Paul will change his stance on other issues, Scoville said.
"I don't trust Rand Paul anymore," he said.
David Roose, an active Tea Party member, offered a similar criticism of Paul's decision to join forces with the likes of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The action "capitulated to the establishment," he said.
Meanwhile, Democrat Jack Conway, who is running against Paul for Kentucky's open Senate seat, hasn't held back in pouncing on his Republican rival over the apparent broken campaign promise. Conway's camp says that Paul's cozying up with members of the GOP establishment amounts to hypocrisy.
But Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton says that there's no "credibility issue" at hand. Paul also recently came to his own defense amid criticism that he broke a pledge to his supporters by saying, "I think also Republicans since then are unified against any more bailouts."