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Ron Paul using campaign cash to aid his nonprofit

Former presidential candidate uses $150K from House fund to bankroll free-market group

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Texan Ron Paul's congressional career is over, but he's still helping himself from his well-stocked campaign account.

On March 11, the Committee to Re-Elect Ron Paul donated $150,000 to the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education, a nonprofit charitable group Paul himself founded in 1976, according to documents filed today with the Federal Election Commission. Carol Paul, his wife, is the group's president, Internal Revenue Service documents show.

The Foundation for Rational Economics and Education, which shares a Texas address with Paul's congressional committee, describes itself as "dedicated to individual liberty and free-market economics." It is also the publisher of "Ron Paul's Freedom Report," a periodic newsletter.

Additionally, it this year is publishing Paul's wonky weekly column, the most recent of which focused on the financial meltdown of Cyprus. Paul, long a backer of a gold standard and currency competition, used it to deride the island nation's "fiat paper money system combined with fractional reserve banking" and advocate that the United States "end the Federal Reserve, stay away from propping up the euro and return to a sound monetary system."

The Foundation for Rational Economics and Education's most recent filing with the Internal Revenue Service lists assets of nearly $653,000 at the beginning of 2011, up from the more than $564,000 a year earlier. Like other nonprofits, the foundation is not required to disclose its donors on its IRS filings.

By law, political campaign committees may contribute unlimited surplus funds to 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofits such as the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education, and there's no prohibition on a former candidate directing those funds to his or her own charity.

With the $150,000 contribution to his nonprofit, Paul has all but tapped out his congressional account, which reported about $27,300 cash on hand as of the end of March, federal filings show.

But Paul's 2012 presidential campaign committee reported nearly $1.1 million in available cash and no debt through December, according to its most recent filing with the FEC.

It may soon be known what, if anything, it has done with this leftover cash. The committee has until April 15 to file its next financial report, as the FEC in January approved its request to change its filing frequency from monthly to quarterly.

Paul, a libertarian-leaning Republican, left Congress in January after failing to win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination and opting against seeking re-election to his Houston-area U.S. House seat.