Fiscal Conservative: Ron Paul Won't Attend CPAC Without $50K Fee

Conservative icon asked CPAC for a $50,000 speaking fee, conference officials declined.

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This post has been updated to reflect comment from Ron Paul.

Ron Paul won't attend the Conservative Political Action Conference this March after he was declined a $50,000 speaking fee he requested, Whispers has learned.

A CPAC spokeswoman confirmed that the American Conservative Union, which runs the conference, had invited the former Texas congressman and presidential candidate and that he declined the invitation.

"We do not give speaking fees, and unfortunately that is a barrier to some speakers," CPAC spokeswoman Laura Rigas tells Whispers.

[READ: Ron Paul Blasts NRA, Liberals Over Gun Issue]

Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul inspired legions of dedicated supporters during his 2008 and 2012 campaigns for the presidency.
Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul inspired legions of dedicated supporters during his 2008 and 2012 campaigns for the presidency.

Megan Stiles, a spokeswoman for Paul's political organization Campaign for Liberty, says Paul isn't attending because he's retired. The former congressman's typical speaking fee is $50,000.

Though Paul attended CPAC most of the years he was in Congress, he skipped the conference last year to focus on campaigning, making him the only Republican presidential candidate not to attend.

When Paul addressed CPAC in 2011, he told an enthusiastic crowd that he was "glad to see the revolution was continuing."

But while Paul won't attend this year's conference, the American Conservative Union is keen to draw the kind of crowd he usually attracts: young and passionate.

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The theme of this year's conference is "America's Future: The Next Generation of Conservatives," and the keynote closing address will be delivered by the young, fiery Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas.

CPAC also this year changed its student rate (a rate that applied to any age) to a "young conservative" rate. Any person under the age of 24 can now attend the three-day conference for $40, one-fifth the cost of the general rate.

Update, 4:45 p.m.:

Ron Paul issued a statement saying he declined to speak at CPAC due to a scheduling conflict.

In a statement provided to Whispers, Paul said that he did not turn down the invitation to speak because CPAC would not pay a speaker’s fee. 

"While I have enjoyed speaking there in years past, I am unable to attend this year due to a previously scheduled engagement,” he said. Paul spokeswoman Stiles could not confirm whether Paul asked for his customary speakers fee to deliver an address to CPAC.

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