Monday, February 23, 2015

The libertarian network behind Rand Paul

The Libertarian Network That Rand Paul Hasn’t Walked Away From And Can’t Totally Control - BuzzFeed News - Rosie Gray & Kate Nocera:

February 22, 2015 "Last month, Rand Paul greeted a crowd of like-minded supporters: gun-rights enthusiasts with a libertarian bent in New Hampshire, the state where the Republican senator seems most likely to chase presidential primary votes.

"Event organizers wouldn’t let press into the event, devoted to guns, but reporters were able to see Paul greeting supporters in a black letterman-style jacket bearing the letters “NAGR.”
The acronym stands for National Association for Gun Rights — an alternative group to the behemoth National Rifle Association, the group that NAGR says just isn’t committed enough to the Second Amendment.

"Paul routinely signs his name to their mailers. He’s helped fundraise for the group on conference calls. But NAGR is just one of the wide network of libertarian activist groups that Paul remains aligned with, even as he prepares for a presidential bid this year.

The informal network of groups — NAGR, the Campaign for Liberty, the National Pro-life Alliance, and the National League of Taxpayers — are something of a holdover from Paul’s more libertarian purist father. The groups operate independently from one another and from Paul, but their connections to the family run deep. Their activists provided a foundation of operative support for Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns. But they didn’t stop when the elder Paul retired: The groups fundraise aggressively and many have used Rand Paul’s name to solicit donations and raise their profile....

"Voters on their massive distribution lists get communications with Paul’s name or messages signed by him, gaining exposure and a fundraising base for him. An email from the National League of Taxpayers for example, will go out under Paul’s name and ask supporters to sign a petition supporting a balanced budget amendment and then say contributions to the group are “urgently needed.”

"Rand Paul’s connection to the network is no real secret — the libertarian groups were the subject of stories from reporters like David Weigel and others last year. The question in many of those stories was the same: If and when would the senator walk away from the groups.

"A year later, the answer seems clear: Rand Paul isn’t walking away from the groups, and they’ll continue to use his name on their promotional materials, even if he can’t control what they do."

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