Membership numbers of anti-tax group led by Rand Paul questioned

An anti-tax group that helped fuel Republican Rand Paul's political career had 1,000 dues-paying members, Paul reportedly told a news service in 2000.

But this week, after the status of Kentucky Taxpayers United became an issue in the U.S. Senate race, Paul's campaign manager said the group was an all-volunteer effort.

"There were no dues-paying members," Jesse Benton, Paul's campaign manager, told the Herald-Leader in an e-mail Friday.

Paul's campaign Web site still touts his work as head of the group, even though it has not existed as a legal corporation for a decade. As recently as last Monday night, Paul was introduced as chairman and founder of the group before a televised debate in Northern Kentucky.

The organization was dissolved in November 2000 by then-Secretary of State John Y. Brown III because Paul had not filed the required annual report, according to state records. It is listed as being in bad standing.

Paul has cited his role with the group, which backed candidates opposed to higher taxes, in speeches and television appearances many times since then, helping bolster his credentials as an advocate of lower taxes before, and during, his run for the Senate.

The campaign of his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Jack Conway, posted a video on the Internet this week questioning Paul's truthfulness.

"Either he made up a political organization to pad his résumé for the past 10 years, or he accepted contributions to a made-up organization and has to explain where that money is," a spokesman for Conway, John Collins, said Friday.

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