How Rand Paul's using his class-action suit against the NSA to help his presidential campaign

Largely unnoticed in Paul’s effort is this: the names and email addresses of anyone who registers support for his class-action suit against the NSA goes straight into the Kentucky Republican senator’s political database, which he could leverage into a campaign…

“This could have been done through some other named website,” the adviser said. “We did it straight up. Go to RandPaul2016.com or RandPAC.com to sign up. They know who they’re giving their name to. It’s a couple hundred thousand people who obviously care about this issue, care about Rand taking action on this issue. [We’re] sure there are other things they’ll care about.” (As of earlier this week, the adviser put the signature count at more than 300,000.)…

Benjamin Wittes, a legal expert on national security issues at the Brookings Institution, said that from what he knows about the lawsuit so far, “it will accomplish absolutely nothing” because the general argument “essentially duplicates litigation” already underway in the courts. He noted that could change depending on what argument Paul’s team advances or whether it joins with other pending litigation, but said that for now, the lawsuit appears to be more “a way of expressing substantial political discontent.”