Senator Rand Paul

WFPL

Republican Rand Paul says he has contributed $250,000 and pledged another $200,000 to pay for a proposed GOP presidential caucus in his home state of Kentucky next year.

State GOP officials are scheduled to vote Saturday on rules for the proposed March 5 caucus.

The state party's proposed switch from a primary to a caucus would allow Paul to run for president and re-election to his U.S. Senate seat simultaneously without violating a state law banning candidates from appearing on the ballot twice.

In a letter to party officials, Paul says he transferred $250,000 to a state GOP account. He pledged to raise or transfer another $200,000. He says the caucus will cost an estimated $400,000 to $500,000.

More money would come from filing fees paid by candidates.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that Paul is sticking to his commitment to defray caucus costs. McConnell has endorsed the caucus.

Senator Rand Paul is facing charges of plagiarizing material used in an op-ed article. The Kentucky Republican has also had to explain in recent weeks how Wikipedia entries were used in his speeches without attribution.

Sen. Paul wrote an opinion piece about mandatory minimum prison sentences for The Washington Times that was published in September. An article posted on Buzzfeed points out that the Bowling Green Republican copied language contained in an essay published by The Week magazine.

Multiple lines in Senator Paul’s op-ed appear to be lifted verbatim from the essay written by Dan Stewart and published shortly before the Senator’s op-ed came out.

Aides to Senator Paul have declined to answer questions about the incident.

However, aides told the website Politico that they would be “more cautious in presenting and attributing sources” after it was discovered that Paul used word-for-word Wikipedia entries during a speech last week.

Among voters in Iowa—a key primary state—U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is the strongest Republican in the field of prospective 2016  presidential candidates,  says a new poll by Quinnipiac University.

Kentucky's junior senator leads current Vice President Joe Biden by five points among Iowa voters— and he trails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the presumed Democratic frontrunner, by only four points.

Those totals are better than Sen. Marco Rubio, the Floridian who is also a leading Republican contender for the 2016 presidential election.

In the Quinnipiac poll, Rubio barely edges Biden and trails Clinton by nine points.

The polling numbers come on heels of his keynote speech to Iowa Republicans weeks ago. But a major reason for Paul's strong standing in Iowa is his perception among Iowa's independent voters.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says an increasing number of state legislators are lining up in support of legalizing the growing of hemp as a cash crop for Kentucky farmers.

Bills have been filed in both the Kentucky House and Senate to allow the growing of industrial hemp after licensing through the agriculture department.

Speaking before the Kentucky Commodities Conference in Bowling Green Friday, Comer told WKU Public Radio hemp is a crop with potential uses for industry, clothing, paper and more. The biggest problem, he said, is overcoming the opposition of law enforcement agencies that fear growing hemp could lead to an increase in marijuana growing. The two plants are almost identical and police say hemp would serve as a cover for marijuana plots.