U.S. Senatorial candidate and son of America’s favorite marginal revolutionary figure Rand Paul released an interesting letter today, which asks his Republican primary challenger/KY Secretary of State Trey Grayson to excuse himself from his duties as chairman of the state board of elections due to a supposed “conflict of interest.” Pertinent excerpts from the letter read thusly:
As Kentucky’s Secretary of State, you serve as the chairman of the Board of Elections, which is charged with oversight of elections within the Commonwealth. Because of this, it is clear that a conflict exists between your role as Secretary of State and your role as candidate for office in this election.
I believe your service on the Board of Elections presents a conflict of interest with respect to an election in which you are a candidate. As I read the law (KRS 11A.020), you are prohibited from involvement in matters which present a substantial conflict of interest between your public duty and your personal interest.
This outrageous use of a public office to organize a political stunt indicates to me that you need to immediately step aside as supervisor of this election and allow appointment of a nonpartisan civil servant to handle this important task.”
Which sounds all well and good, except for a couple of things:
1. Paul has read this law, KRS 11A.020, incorrectly. Since the only role that Grayson (and his office) serves re: his own election is to validate it officially — and not tabulate every vote, which is the purview of respective county clerks offices — the assertion is more than a little off base.
2. When asked about the validity of the assertions, the secretary of state’s office more or less laughed them off, adding that even when incumbent county clerks run for office they’re not required to “step aside.” Of course you could charge them of being in league with Grayson, which would make you a little paranoid and, therefore, probably a Paul supporter anyway.
It seems that the Paul camp is merely trying to rile up his neoconservative, objectivist base with run-of-the-mill horse-swill populism that tries to paint his opponent and the system in which his opponent operates as corrupt. And if that’s the case, aren’t there plenty of other targets worthy of Paul’s badly calibrated crosshairs?