Tea Party Senate candidate won't answer questions on spending public money for debate coach

Looks like Georgia Rep. Paul Broun has a "Do as I say, not as I do" approach to fiscal conservatism

Published March 18, 2014 9:25PM (EDT)

       (AP/Gregory Smith)
(AP/Gregory Smith)

GOP Rep. Paul Broun, a Tea Party favorite and the current front-runner to win the GOP nomination for his state's upcoming Senate election, is scrambling to explain why between 2012 and 2014 his office spent more than $30,000 of taxpayer money on a debate coach, likely hired in order to keep Senate candidate Broun from saying stuff like this. His main explanation so far? Silence and a firmly slammed door.

After Channel 2 Action News reporter Justin Gray, who went through Broun's office's financial records and discovered the payments to Brett O’Donnell, whom the Raw Story describes as "a former debate coach from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University who worked on Michele Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign, as well as stints with former President George W. Bush and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney," Gray attempted to get an on-camera response from Broun. But Broun wasn't in the mood, choosing instead to escape to his office.

Broun's team hasn't been totally silent on the issue, however, announcing on Monday that the congressman has indeed used taxpayer money to pay a speech coach. Yet Broun's people insist the payment wasn't in service of improving his chances of winning the Senate primary but rather so "Broun can best communicate his legislative priorities, issues, and message with his constituents."

Something tells us Broun's fellow Senate candidates — as well as more than a few conservative Georgians — will be less than entirely satisfied with that explanation.

Watch Broun escape Gray's questions below, via the Raw Story:

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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