After FEC inquiry, ‘Stand with Rand’ PAC says it backs Ayn Rand, not Rand Paul

A super PAC that has been promoting Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) political career says, despite its clear affinity for the potential 2016 presidential candidate, the name "Rand" in its title refers to noted libertarian author Ayn Rand.

The super PAC made the contention in a letter to the Federal Election Commission after the FEC said that it cannot use a politician's name unless that politicians authorizes it.

"This Committee responds to its pending RFAI by noting that it is unaware that the late Ayn Rand, noted philosopher and author of Atlas Shrugged, is seeking election to federal office," the PAC says in the letter.

The PAC then argues that restricting the use of any name of a member of Congress impinges on free speech.

"With 435 Representatives and 100 Senators many first, last, and even middle names would be prohibited from such broad overreach," the letter says. "Thus, the use of just a first or last name is insufficient to trigger such a harsh restraint on speech."

It's a telling little glimpse of the complex world of campaign finance.

Here's more from the Center for Public Integrity's Dave Levinthal, who first spotted the PAC's letter:

Stand with Rand PAC's website features photos and quotations of Paul. It displays a t-shirt with Paul's silhouette hovering over the words "Stand with Rand."

The Stand with Rand PAC further declares: "Examples of the types of candidates that we support include Senator Rand Paul, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Ted Cruz and Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Ken Cuccinelli."

And Stand with Rand PAC isn't standing by itself in what's the latest legal kerfuffle involving political committees bucking federal laws that govern — and limit — political committees' names.

Recently, a group called Stop Pelosi PAC found itself crosswise with the FEC, as did an unrelated pro-Paul PAC called Rand PAC 2016.

Federal law states that “no unauthorized committee shall include the name of any candidate in its name."

But it also notes that "an unauthorized political committee may include the name of a candidate in the title of a special project name or other communication if the title clearly and unambiguously shows opposition to the named candidate." What the law considers a "special project" or "other communication" is not defined.

Asked how his Ayn Rand argument squares with federal law, Stand With Rand PAC treasurer Dan Backer, who also keeps the Stop Pelosi PAC's books, replied, "You’re saying Rand Paul doesn’t stand with Ayn Rand?"

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