Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul oftentimes made television appearances or attended events outside Washington, D.C., on the days he skipped Homeland Security hearings, a BuzzFeed News review found.
BuzzFeed News was only able to verify that Paul attended five out of 73 Homeland Security hearings from January 2014 to today.
An aide for Sen. Paul said he was "one of the most active members of the U.S. Senate" and noted that television appearances or fundraisers usually did not conflict with the hearings and thus couldn't be the reason for the skipped hearings.
"When schedules conflict, he has chosen to spend his time hearing the thoughts of Kentuckians, and will subsequently receive a full report of pertinent information that was missed from staff in attendance at the meeting," a Paul aide said.
In February 2014, Paul missed a hearing on extreme weather events that was happening at the same time he held a press conference with FreedomWorks on suing the NSA in a class action lawsuit. The suit was put on hold in September.
Paul likewise skipped a Homeland Security hearing on recycling electronics the same day he pretaped an interview at the Capitol for The Kelly File. He discussed the president's surgeon general nominee.
In March 2014, Paul missed a morning hearing on cybersecurity. The topic specifically covered "strengthening public-private partnerships to reduce cyber risks to our nation's critical infrastructure."
Later that day, Paul was in the Baltimore suburbs at a fundraiser for Maryland Liberty PAC, where he spoke of making the GOP the "party of privacy," according to a news account of the speech.
He also appeared on Hannity that same night to discuss Obamacare.
That month he also missed a Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on first responders in the afternoon. In the morning he appeared on Fox and Friends to discuss the NSA.
Likewise, Paul went on Fox News's America's Newsroom that month to discuss President Obama's use of executive action about an hour before a hearing on the Homeland Security Department's 2015 fiscal year budget featuring DHS chief Jeh Johnson.
In September, Rand Paul appeared on Hannity to respond to President Obama's speech on the Islamic State.
Earlier that day, Paul missed a hearing on terrorism featuring officials from the department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the FBI.
He also missed a Homeland Security hearing on D.C. statehood after appearing on CBS This Morning to discuss the Islamic State and the 2016 presidential race.
In November, Paul skipped a hearing on Ebola. A month earlier, Paul had made comments on Ebola being "incredibly contagious," "very transmissible," and "easy to catch" that were included in the fact-checking site Politifact's "Lie of the Year."
Later that day he appeared on Fox News' On the Record to discuss Obama's coming executive action on immigration.
Records show Paul also skipped a Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing on Ebola in December and a Health Education Labor Pensions hearing on Ebola earlier in the year, in September.
In February of this year, Paul skipped a Homeland Security hearing on regulations, then later that day pretaped an interview on The Kelly File about his upcoming CPAC speech and the 2016 election.
Paul also missed a hearing on "examining GAO's list of high risk government programs" while at the same time he appeared on Fox News to discuss the Islamic State and the 2016 presidential election.
In March, Paul missed a Homeland Security hearing on improper Social Security payments while in Austin for a Rand PAC office opening during SXSW, where he also did a Fox News interview on Iran.
Likewise in March, Paul skipped a hearing on border security (one of four he skipped) and later that night appeared on Hannity to discuss growing the Republican Party and comment on Ted Cruz's presidential announcement speech.
Here's a spreadsheet of the hearings:
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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