Liability Meter Rising on McConnell Campaign Manager
Posted at 5:28 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2013
The campaign manager imported to bring tea party credibility to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s 2014 re-election campaign is becoming a larger liability on the campaign. If pressured to leave, he may not mind at all. It sounds like he prefers stronger tea.
When Jesse Benton, a political consultant to Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns, House campaigns, and leadership PAC, was hired by McConnell, it put a tea party imprimator on McConnell.
However, recent allegations of possible illegal activity by Benton when he worked for Rep. Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and PAC may have raised Benton’s profile too high and caused him to become more of a political liability. Questions remain about payments to Iowa state senator Kent Sorenson. Sorenson had switched his presidential campaign support from Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., to Ron Paul, R-Texas. just before the Iowa caucuses.
The liability meter also jumped up when Benton was heard in a leaked telephone conversation discussing his McConnell job: “Between you and me, I’m sorta holdin’ my nose for two years.”
Jesse Benton has worked for both tea party favorites Ron Paul and his son, Rand. From 2007 to the present, Benton has been paid at least $812,086 by Ron Paul and his various campaign committees and PAC. In 2010, the campaign committee of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., paid Benton $152,218.
Benton’s personal campaign contributions have also been closely tied to both Ron Paul and Rand Paul. Jesse Benton has given to the Ron Paul 2012 Presidential campaign; the Rand Paul for U.S. Senate campaign; and Reinventing a New Direction -RANDPAC, the leadership PAC of Sen. Rand Paul. He has also given to the National Republican Congressional Committee; Kurt Bills For Senate in Minnesota; Ted Cruz for Senate in Texas; and in 2013 to the Louisville & Jefferson County Republican Executive Committee. Benton’s wife, Valori, Ron Paul’s granddaughter, has also contributed to the Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Committee.
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