Although U.S. Sen. Rand Paul wrote in a letter last week to nearly 350 members of the Republican Party of Kentucky's central committee that he had transferred $250,000 to a state GOP account to cover the initial costs of holding a presidential caucus next year, Paul hasn't provided a dime, committee members told the Herald-Leader on Tuesday.
In his letter, which was mailed about a week before the committee is to vote on whether to move forward with the caucus that Paul has requested, Paul wrote that he already had "transferred $250,000 in an RPK account to begin the funding."
"Very little of the funding is needed in August, but I wanted to make sure there was plenty in there as we move forward," Paul wrote.
That is not what happened.
Scott Lasley, who is chairman of the Warren County Republican Party and in charge of a special committee to develop rules for the caucus, said Paul's letter "seems to be creating some confusion" among committee members.
"The letter states that the money has been transferred but was postmarked on the 13th," Lasley said. "As of last Friday, it was my understanding that the money had not yet been transferred."
The money had not been transferred as of Tuesday, and aides to Paul said it wouldn't be until the committee approves the caucus proposal, assuming it does, when it meets Saturday in Frankfort.
Paul's team declined to explain why the senator claimed the money had been transferred, but they insisted there was $250,000 in a dedicated account that the state party will have access to after the caucus proposal is approved.
Paul, who is performing eye surgeries in Haiti, will spend the latter half of the week trying to reassure skeptical committee members about his plan to pay for the caucus.
"Members of the central committee want to make sure that we are able to do what we think is best for the party and for all Republicans across the state," Lasley said. "It is important that we have all the information that is necessary to make that decision."
Paul has pressed the state party to hold a caucus in an effort to get around a Kentucky law that prohibits a candidate from running for two offices on the same ballot. He wants to run for president during a caucus in early March and for re-election to his Senate seat during the traditional May primary.
At a Kentucky GOP executive committee meeting in March, Paul persuaded Republicans to give preliminary approval for a caucus, but there have been serious questions raised about how much the undertaking will cost.
Paul and his campaign have said they will make sure state and county parties are not left in the lurch by unexpected costs, but committee members have been waiting to see a financial commitment from Paul.
The proposed caucus, scheduled for March 5, is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $500,000.
In addition to the $250,000 down payment, Paul pledged in his letter to "raise or transfer" an additional $200,000. Paul also said he expected that $150,000 to $225,000 would be raised by charging every presidential candidate who wants to participate in the caucus a $15,000 filing fee.