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Rand Paul Has Missed Most Foreign Relations Hearings Since 2014

Here's what he did on those days.

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Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has skipped most Foreign Relations Committee hearings since 2014, a BuzzFeed News review has found.

Looking at publicly available hearing transcripts and videos, Paul's attendance at the full committee and subcommittees he is on was only verifiable at 15 of 94 hearings since 2014. Out of the 94 hearings since 2014, 12 of them were closed, and Paul's attendance could not be verified either way.

Previously, BuzzFeed News found Paul had only attended five out of 73 Homeland Security hearings since 2014.

The senator, who launched his presidential campaign several weeks ago in his home state, calls national security and foreign policy "one of the primary functions of the Federal Government" on his issues page.

A Paul aide said "Senator Paul is one of the most active members of the U.S. Senate. In that same timeframe, he has made more than 98 percent of the votes in the Senate and authored more than 50 bills and amendments, all the while maintaining a full schedule of meetings with Kentuckians in his office."

"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."

Politico recently reported one of Paul's presidential rivals, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, has skipped most Armed Services hearings since coming to Washington in 2012 and his committee attendance at other hearings was sub-par.

In the 2014 midterms elections, committee attendance became an in issue in the North Carolina Senate race when current Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina blasted then-Sen. Kay Hagan for missing "half the Armed Services Committee hearings" in 2014. Sen. John McCain blasted Hagan as well for missing a hearing on ISIS for a fundraiser in New York.


Here's a spreadsheet of a review of his attendance:


Later that month, Paul missed a business hearing for Foreign Relations (but voted by proxy). He also missed a subcommittee hearing on international energy that discussed Ukraine. Later that evening, he went on Fox News to discuss Russia and Ukraine.


On September 11th, Paul appears to have missed the nominations hearing of four ambassadors. Later in the evening, he was in New Hampshire for the "first in the nation freedom event."

In September, Paul skipped a hearing on four ambassador nominations, including two to the Middle East. That evening he went on Fox News to discuss the Islamic State. He likewise missed a nominations hearing a week later and appeared on Hannity again. Paul did attend a hearing that day on ISIS.

In November, Paul skipped the nomination hearing for Tony Blinken, the deputy White House national security advisor, to be a deputy secretary of state. Later that evening, he was on Fox News discussing immigration and executive action.


Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

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