The Facts about Ron Paul’s Newsletters and the Racist Articles
For whatever reason, the debate over the Ron Paul newsletters has been full of inaccuracies on both sides. This site lists only the solid facts, in an effort to get to the truth underneath the controversy:
Before the Offending Articles: 1976 – 1988
Ron Paul was first elected to Congress in 1976, during the nation’s bicentennial, in a special election (to replace departing Democrat Robert Casey). He lost the next election, but regained the seat 1978 and remained in Congress until he left voluntarily in 1984.
While in DC, he helped found “think tank” called F.R.E.E., which was vice-chaired by Paul’s Chief of staff Lew Rockwell. It published financial newsletters trading on Paul’s name, like Dr. Ron Paul’s Freedom Report.
From 1976 – 1988, the The Freedom Report covered normal, pro-liberty issues, with an emphasis on financial and monetary topics. Nobody, on either side, claims anything controversial was published during that period, while its subscriber count rose as high as 100,000.
In 1984, Paul chose to run for Senate, instead of re-election. He lost the nomination to Phil Gramm, a Democrat who had just switched to the Republican party. This left Paul without a seat in Congress.
In 1988, Paul ran for President with the Libertarian party. By this time, Lew Rockwell was publicly known to be a ghost writer for Ron Paul, as reported by the magazine American Libertarian.
After losing, Paul returned to Texas, to resume his Ob/Gyn practice.
The Actual Articles: 1989 – 1993
While he was back in Texas delivering babies, the Washington-based organization called “Ron Paul and Associates” began printing the articles, sometimes written in first person but with no by-line, that are so controversial today. Lew Rockwell was a vice-president of this organization.
Lew has been fingered by Reason Magazine as having advocated this very kind of racist, divisive attitude to attract Conservatives. An article in Liberty Magazine is cited by Reason as evidence of this plan, although in it Rockwell does not actually say anything racist, or suggest that such things should be said. They also say Rockwell’s position produced “a flurry of articles and manifestos whose racially charged talking points and vocabulary mirrored” the questionable articles. We haven’t been able to find any examples of this; if they happened, and you know where to get a copy, please send us a link, or post it in the comments.
Reason even claims “a half-dozen longtime libertarian activists—including some still close to Paul” say Rockwell wrote the articles, himself. Rockwell denies actually writing the articles, but refuses to talk about who may have actually written them.
Whoever did write them, the articles in question are EXACTLY sandwiched in the time when Ron Paul was far off, on the other side of the continent. They were printed in DC between 1989 and 1993. Paul left DC in 1988, did not return until 1996.
In 1995, Paul gave an interview about his former time in DC, which attackers are claiming prove he knew about the racist articles. But in them, he appears to know nothing about the articles, talking about the newsletters in exactly the way they had been published when he’d been in DC:
Along with that I also put out a political type of business investment newsletter, sort of covered all these areas. And it covered a lot about what was going on in Washington and financial events, especially some of the monetary events since I had been especially interested in monetary policy, had been on the banking committee, and still very interested in, in that subject. That — this newsletter dealt with that. This has to do with the value of the dollar, the pros and cons of the gold standard, and of course the disadvantages of all the high taxes and spending that our government seems to continue to do.
He made no reference to the addition of the new, “paleo-libertarian” spin that had been added since he left…spin that had already been absent from the newsletters for two years at the time of his interview.
Paul Returns in 1996
When Paul was running to return to Congress in 1996, his Democratic opponent quoted a few of the controversial articles, blaming Paul for them. Paul’s campaign spokesman, Michael Sullivan, claimed in various statements that the quotes were being taken out of context.
Five years later, when Paul addressed the articles directly, he said he had not written them, but that he had moral responsibility by simple association. When asked about the 1996 statements, he says that the campaign advisers had decided that, since they were in his name, it was too complicated to deny them, that he had to simply accept responsibility.
In 2008, the newsletters were dug up for an attack on Paul. Wolf Blitzer asked him about it, and Paul responded this way:
Everybody knows in my district that I didn’t write them and I don’t speak like that… and I’ve been reelected time and time again and everyone knows I don’t participate in that kind of language.The point is, when you bring this question up, you’re really saying ‘you’re a racist, or are you a racist?’ The answer is no, I’m not a racist.
As a matter of fact, Rosa Parks is one of my heroes, Martin Luther King is a hero, because they practiced the libertarian principle of civil disobedience and nonviolence.
Libertarians are incapable of being a racist because racism is a collectivist idea: you see people in groups. A civil libertarian as myself sees everyone as an important individual. “It’s not the color of the skin that’s important” as Martin Luther King said, “it’s the character of the individual”.
You know what is really interesting, though, and might be behind [the racism claims]. Because I, as a Republican candidate, am getting the most black votes and black supporters, and now that has to be undermined.
At that time, The president of the NAACP in Austin, Texas, was asked whether (whom he’d known for 20 years) Paul is racist, and said he’s not, adding:
Knowing Ron Paul and having talked to him, I think he’s a very fair guy I just think that a lot of folks do not understand the Libertarian platform. I’ve read Ron Paul’s whole philosophy, I also understand what he’s saying from a political standpoint and why people are attacking him.
If you scare the folks that have the money, they’re going to attack you and they’re going to take it out of context. What he’s saying is really really threatening the powers that be and that’s what they fear.
In 2011, the articles were brought up again, as if newly discovered. Paul’s response:
I didn’t write them, I didn’t read them at the time, and I disavow them.
Eric Dondero, a disgruntled ex-Paul staffer, even while attacking Paul on his foreign policy stances (Dondero being an interventionist), still insisted that Paul is not racist.
Is Ron Paul a “racist?” In short, No. I worked for the man for 12 years, pretty consistently. I never heard a racist word expressed towards Blacks or Jews come out of his mouth. Not once. And understand, I was his close personal assistant. It’s safe to say that I was with him on the campaign trail more than any other individual…
Going by all the evidence we’ve found so far, it’s inaccurate to say “racist newsletters”; they were legitimate financial newsletters, and a burst of 9 racist articles out of 200 issues. The term “racist newsletter” is giving people the false impression that this was their normal subject, that even knowing they existed would make someone complicit.
Paul appears to have kept the newsletters “good” when he was actually involved in them. When he was no longer in DC, articles that are contrary to anything Paul is ever known to have said seem to have been inserted.
Those who keep bringing up the newsletters appear to either be very confused, practicing sloppy, irresponsible journalism/research, or else trying to smear him for purely political reasons.