Rep. Ron Paul hasn’t led his Republican rivals in the polls this election season, but he has led in one category: spending on charter flights.
ABC News and the Center for Responsive Politics have crunched the numbers and you might be surprised to know that the U.S. Congressman that just recently released a tax plan cutting $1 trillion from the federal budget has spent close to $1 million on charter flights.
Paul has far outspent his nearest rival Michele Bachmann, who logged receipts totaling $439,000 on charter fights.
And despite raising vastly more than Paul, Mitt Romney has only spent a third of what Paul has on charter flights: around $300,000 to $400,000.
Romney has tweeted about his penchant for flying commercial on low-cost air carrier Southwest Airlines, and in 2010 he flew coach with ABC News’ John Berman.
Unlike Romney — or most of the Republican field — Paul still has a day job. He’s been running his campaign while still serving as a U.S. Congressman from Texas. Still, Paul has visited Iowa almost weekly and has made numerous trips to other early voting states like New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, and Nevada.
Using a private jet does have its advantages; Paul is able to arrive at events quicker and socialize with the crowd more. Plus it allows the campaign flexibility more movement — but jets do eat up a lot of resources; fuel, crew, food, etc.
The Paul campaign did not immediately respond for comment.
The Rick Perry campaign reported spending $272,000 on air charters, which is interesting since the Texas governor only jumped into the race in August. The number is also significantly lower since the campaign was forced to admit that it underpaid a Texas businessman for use of his private jet.
Of all the GOP presidential hopefuls, only Rick Santorum reported not using an air charter.
Just this past week Paul, a prolific fundraiser, pulled in almost $3 million from his latest “money bomb.”