Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul has decided not to return the nearly $2,000 in campaign money he collected from Tim Profitt, the man who Paul recently forced out as Bourbon County coordinator of his Kentucky Senate campaign after he stepped on a MoveOn.org activist outside a debate Monday night.
Profitt has given Paul’s Republican campaign $1,950, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports, money Paul’s campaign told the paper it’ll hang on to even as Profitt (and maybe other Paul volunteers) come under criminal investigation for their part in the Kentucky stomp.
The explanation from Paul’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton:
“The Paul campaign condemned the incident far before Conway’s camp ever addressed it and decisively severed all ties with the supporter in question,” Benton told the paper, referring to Democratic nominee Jack Conway. “To suggest otherwise is nothing but a desperate attempt to distract voters from the issues facing Kentucky.”
As Greg Sargent reports, the decision to keep Profitt’s money is a flip-flop for Paul. “Last night,” Sargent writes, “the Paul campaign told Fox News that they would be returning the money.”
Here’s video of that Sargent got from Team Conway:
Update: In this morning’s edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader, Benton says he never intended to return Profitt’s donation.
“The Fox reporter was misinformed. We never said that, and never return campaign contributions,” Benton told the paper.