Let Me Start: May 29, 2015

Let me start with the stories the Hardball Staff is talking about today: Senator Rand Paul, the Patriot Act, and the indictment against former House Speaker Dennis Hastert.


Chris Matthews sits down with Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul to discuss his foreign policy positions on ISIS, his vehement stance against the Patriot Act, and what else he has on his platform for 2016. 

But as Politico reported, one of the Kentucky senator's biggest hurdles may be campaign financing.  He is one of the only GOP candidates in an extremely dense field who does not have a billionaire backer.  Politico wrote: “While his rivals cultivate wealthy backers who will pump millions of dollars into their candidacies, Paul has struggled to find a similar lifeline. It’s led to considerable frustration in his campaign, which, amid rising concerns that it will not be able to compete financially, finds itself leaning heavily on the network of small donors who powered his father’s insurgent White House bids.”

Don't miss what Senator Paul tells "Hardball" at 7pm/et.


The Patriot Act provisions for phone data collection are set to expire on Monday, which could lead to a Sunday session of the Senate.  Last week, Senator Rand Paul successfully filibustered renewing the provisions and also made a speech on the Senate floor a few days prior which lasted more than eleven hours.  NBC News reports that even if the Senate passes something to extend the provisions past Sunday's midnight deadline, the House won't be able to consider the legislation until Monday afternoon.  By then, all the associated programs will be shut down.  

READ MORE: Patriot Act provisions set to expire Monday


Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday.  NBC News' Justice Correspondent Pete Williams reports that “court documents say four years ago, [Hastert] agreed to pay $3.5 million in apparent hush money to that person from Yorkville, identified only as Individual A, someone who has known Hastert for most of that person's life, the government says. The documents say Hastert agreed to make the payments ‘to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct’ against Individual A that occurred years earlier.” 

READ MORE: The key mystery at the heart of Dennis Hastert case

Hastert faces charges for cutting the size of the withdrawals from his bank account in order to avoid the bank from reporting to the financial transactions and lying to the FBI about why he withdrew the money in the first place.