Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ron Paul's Minions Create a Mess for McConnell Campaign

By Craig Robinson

Earlier this year when Jesse Benton, the campaign manager for Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign, was caught on tape saying that he is “holding his nose” working for the highest-ranking Republican in the United States Senate, McConnell handled the situation like a pro.

posing for a picture with Benton that showed him holding his nose. Just like that, the story was over. The odd political marriage between the establishment power broker in the Senate and the anti-establishment campaign operative with deep connections to Ron and Rand Paul continued on as if nothing ever happened.

As is often the case in politics, getting the story off the front page of the newspaper is an important first step, but if you don’t deal with the situation, it could come back to haunt you. Behind the scenes, McConnell was probably livid with Benton, but the political marriage between the two makes too much sense to end the relationship over a recorded phone call. McConnell needs help against a well-funded primary opponent, and as Benton said in the embarrassing recording, “What we’re doing here is going to be a big benefit to Rand [Paul] in 16, so, that’s my long vision.”

McConnell may believe that Benton and his libertarian-leaning connections would help him skate through a pesky primary, but it now appears that letting Benton run his re-election effort in Kentucky could prove to be a major mistake.

Last summer, broke the story that showed that Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson was compensated by the Ron Paul campaign before switching his support from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul just days before the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. The special investigation that followed the news provided proof that Ron Paul’s Deputy National Campaign Manager, Dimitri Kesari, gave Sorenson a check for $25,000 in late December.’s investigation also provided ample proof that Benton was directly involved in the campaign’s dealings with Sorenson.

On Wednesday, the Des Moines Register reported that the FBI raided Sorenson’s Warren County home south of Des Moines. Sorenson’s attorney told the paper, “They took computers and things that would be used to verify or validate communications with presidential entities.” His attorney also indicated that they were not notified that Sorenson was the target of the investigation. The FBI’s press office has referred all media inquiries to the Justice Department.

Sorenson, who resigned his state senate seat earlier this fall, may have some state legal issues to deal with in the future, but his involvement with the Paul and or Bachmann campaign would not likely get him in trouble with federal authorities. The likely targets of the federal investigation are probably Kesari and Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign.

If that’s the case, it’s bad news for McConnell, who, besides employing Benton to manage his campaign, is also paying Kesari as a political consultant.

Read the rest here.

1 comment:

  1. Is it possible that Benton and these other clowns were Republican moles placed in the Ron Paul campaign to insure that Romney's real opposition would be marginalized? Don't you think it odd that Paul ran this "stealth" campaign for delegates in caucus states rather than going head to head with Romney on the trail? (Phil Giraldi thought Paul could have actually taken VA if he had campaigned there.) And why did no one fight the marginalization of Paul on Fox news? Just sayin.