Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul has consistently denied having written — or even read — the inflammatory racist and anti-gay remarks that went out under his name in newsletters he published in the early 1990s. Although numerous associates agree that Paul does not hold racist views, however, it appears that he may have known more about the racist articles than he has been willing to admit.
The Washington Postreported on Friday that three people with first-hand knowledge of Paul’s operations say “he was deeply involved in the company that produced the newsletters, Ron Paul & Associates, and closely monitored its operations, signing off on articles and speaking to staff members virtually every day.”
“It was his newsletter, and it was under his name, so he always got to see the final product. … He would proof it,’’ former company secretary Renae Hathway told the Post.
According to these sources, the main author of the racist passages was Lew Rockwell, who was then the vice president of Paul’s company.
The Post also details how closely entangled Paul’s political career, his business ventures, and members of his own family were during those years. According to one source, who chose to remain anonymous, Paul and his associates made a deliberate choice in the late 1980s to increase sales of the newsletter by making it more provocative.
“It was playing on a growing racial tension, economic tension, fear of government,’’ the source stated “I’m not saying Ron believed this stuff. It was good copy. Ron Paul is a shrewd businessman.’’
Cato Institute President Ed Crane, who frequently lunched with Paul during this period, similarly told the paper that when the two of them discussed how to increase the circulation of Paul’s newsletters, they agreed that “people who have extreme views” were most likely to respond. Paul told Crane his best response had come when he used a mailing list from the racist and anti-Semitic newspaper, Spotlight.
If that was the strategy, it apparently worked. According to the Post, political disclosure forms show that between 1984 and 1995, Paul went from being up to $765,000 in debt to having a net worth of up to $3.3 million.
A Paul spokesperson contacted by the Post for comment expressed doubt about the assertions made by Crane and the other sources.