The Republican Primary Legacy: Debt Hypocrisy (Minus Ron Paul)

Fiscal conservatism was all the rage in the heated Republican presidential primary, with talk of Balanced Budget Amendments and stopping the socialist agenda of President Barack Obama that is spending our children into debt slavery. Whether or not the individuals in the race meant it was often in question, with supporters digging deep into the pasts of opposing candidates and throwing every stick, rock, and clump of dirt they could find. Whether it was old newsletters written by ghostwriters or a series of women who suddenly remembered sexual harassment encounters when the race got hot, everything seemed to be game. Yet, there was never quite the proper examination of the record that there should’ve been. But why look back? Let’s look at now.

Minus former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who is still actively campaigning as he is the Republican nominee in the general election, there is a debt problem among the major candidates who were in the 2012 Republican primary, according to new FEC records.

The award for the most significant lingering campaign debt goes to former Governor Jon Huntsman at almost $5.3 million owed, with a dishonorable mention to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, with almost $5 million owed. While to be fair, many campaigns from as far back as 2000 still remain in debt to the tune of a few hundred thousand. While not excusable, it’s not unusual for politicians’ losing campaigns to remain in debt and not rush to get it paid off.

Former Senator Rick Santorum is another who is up above a million, owing just over $1 million. Representative Michele Bachmann owes $607,218, businessman Herman Cain owes $175,000, former Representative Thaddeus McCotter owes $105,636,

While some may downplay debts by McCotter and Cain, stating it’s not significant in comparison to those of Gingrich and Santorum, it still speaks volumes about the campaign operations of the candidates. As stated before, fiscal conservatism was the headline of the 2012 Republican primaries, with it being really the only point everyone could agree on. Despite many candidates calling for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution, while touting their own supposed financial genius, they found an inability to run a successful campaign while keeping out of the red. The ironic part about this, is their respective campaigns were about securing the Presidency to bring America out of the dangerously high debt problem, yet their campaigns were becoming the very monster they wished to slay.

There was still one individual however, who stood apart and arguably above the rest of the field. Congressman Ron Paul had a detailed plan called the “Plan to Restore America”, which would have balanced the federal budget by the third year of his presidency. Just to start, a Paul Administration would slash $1 trillion, which involved closing down five federal agencies and reorganizing various functions into other existing departments to make the federal government more efficient.

Still, this is just talk and because Congressman Paul never received the nomination, America will not be able to experience a Paul Administration. For a glimpse at how he manages an operation financially, let’s look at what is known. The man who returned almost $1.5 million in unused congressional office funds to the United States Treasury also ran an efficient operation for President, as his campaign reports a surplus of available fund over $2 million. This surplus comes as the Paul Campaign even spent money over the last couple months totalling more than the campaign debt of Bachmann, Cain, and McCotter.

Congressman Ron Paul will be retiring from Congress, leaving behind a record of integrity, in always refusing to vote for legislation that violates his limited government and truly fiscally conservative principles. His congressional office budget reinforces his record, as he often finishes with a surplus on hand, which is returned to the U.S. Treasury. The point is proven further with his presidential campaign which, while failed to secure the nomination, still has more than $2 million on hand. While just one snapshot of many issues, how one balances their own budget is an important point to examine when someone is campaigning for any office. Congressman Paul, on this point, proved to stand above the rest with his proven record of balancing the budget.

Chris Dixon

About Chris Dixon

Chris Dixon is a libertarian-leaning writer and managing editor for The Liberty Conservative. In addition to his political writing, he also covers baseball for Cleat Geeks and enjoys writing on a number of other topics ranging on Medium.