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Paul campaign condemns watchdog report alleging nepotism


Texas Rep. Ron Paul's campaign is pushing back against charges of nepotism leveled by a new study published by a political watchdog group.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) published a report report, titled “Family Affair,” outlining instances in which 248 members of Congress allegedly used their positions to benefit their families during the 2008 and 2010 election cycles.

The report highlighted the Paul family as one such example.

“There are, of course, members who stand out. Rep. Ron Paul’s campaign (R-TX) paid six relatives salaries or fees, the most of any member," the report read.

The report details payments made to Paul’s family members as well as reimbursements made to relatives. Paul is listed in the report’s key findings as the number four congressman who paid “the most money in salaries and fees to family members” ($304,599) and number two on the list of representatives “reimbursing family members the most money” ($47,421).

Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign chairman and grandson-in-law Jesse Benton, who is listed in the report (Page 306), responded to NBC News in a written statement that “this so-called report is a sad attempt by a group of beltway insiders trying to grab cheap headlines.”

“Dr. Paul's campaigns and organizations have raised over $100 million dollars during the last five years, and employed many hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Family members have received a tiny fraction of one percent of jobs and salaries. Everything that Dr. Paul has done in Politics is 100 percent above board and any insinuation otherwise is completely off base," he said.

CREW notes at the end of the report that “many of the financial arrangements uncovered during this project are legal.” The group’s executive director, Melanie Sloan, responded that Paul has not violated any laws or House rules but said campaign contributors have “no idea” their donations will be given to family members.

“It’s a nice way to transfer wealth,” Ms. Sloan said while pointing out Mr. Benton’s relationship with the Paul family. "The American people don’t expect [politics] to be a family business."