Ron Paul

Jesse Benton, Former Ron Paul Campaign Manager, Resigns From Mitch McConnell Re-Election Bid Days After Revelations Paul Campaign Bribed Iowa State Senator for Support

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Jesse Benton
C-SPAN

The revelation earlier this week by Republican Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson in federal court that he took bribes from both the Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul campaigns during the 2012 election season in exchange for his support in the all-important Iowa caucus was bound to have some fall-out. As a federal probe into Sorenson and the bribes continue, Jesse Benton, who managed Paul's campaign in 2008 and 2012 (and Rand Paul's in 2010) has resigned as campaign manager for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The Washington Post reports:

In a statement issued Friday evening, Benton cited "inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors about me and my role in past campaigns that are politically motivated, unfair and, most importantly, untrue."

"The press accounts and rumors are particularly hurtful because they are false," Benton wrote. "However, what is most troubling to me is that they risk unfairly undermining and becoming a distraction to this reelection campaign."

Benton previously weathered controversy over comments caught on tape that suggested he wasn't committed to McConnell's politics.

Reason.com has reached out to Benton for a statement.

Related: Brian Doherty asks Are Ron Paul's Fundraisers a Shadowy Threat to Rand Paul's Political Future?

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  1. Does this mean Paul can finally join the big boys at the grownups’ table? Taking a philosophical stand and filibustering the Senate was amateur hour, but now he’s proved he can work it like the pros.

    1. First off, the bribery accusations are regarding Ron Paul’s campaign, not Rand.

      The evidence consists of a supposed check from a store connected to an aide connected to the Paul campaign, which was never cashed, and wire transfers that the investigator couldn’t connect to the Paul campaign either but said they looked suspicious…. all while the Obama administration is putting thumbscrews on Sorenson.

  2. Benton has always been a sleaze in my book. Too bad the Paul family can’t dump him, since he’s married into it.

    1. Sorenson took bribes from TWO candidates? How did he plan to deliver?

  3. The Austrian core around Ron Paul has despised Benton for years. I’d be curious to know how Benton ever got embedded with RP in the first place.

    1. He’s Ron Paul’s son-in-law.

      1. How many serious presidential candidates hire their son in law, with no obvious qualifications, as campaign manager?

        My problem with RonP in a nutshell. He was never serious about the campaign even when he had a chance to be.

        1. It has nothing to do about seriousness, Solomon. While Ron Paul may be strong on ideology, he has shown throughout his career he has very poor judgement with executive decisions, especially with regard to who he keeps close to him.

          1. No argument there.

          2. For all his education in Austrian economics and his importance in the modern emergence of libertarianism, Paul’s political acumen is that of a tone-deaf local representative. That’s less a criticism of Ron than it is a recognition of who he is and, in an odd way, why so many of us love him.

            He’s not some slick media creation, just a normal guy who wants to reduce state aggression.

      2. Yeah, but how does being a son-in-law get you hired as a political consultant, or was he a campaign manager before he married into the family? Benton is a legendarily nasty critter, as anyone who worked on the Paul campaigns can tell you, and he should’ve been weeded out of the inner circle before he ever got established. That he would switch over to work for McConnell–the enemy of everything that Paul stood for–just highlights what a big-league asshole benton really is.

        I’ll just answer my own question and say that RP’s a good guy and a bad, deeply naive politician who’s precisely the sort of person who’d hire Benton without giving it any thought.

        And, more distressingly, American politics actively selects for amoral opportunists like Benton, even deeply ideological, grassroots efforts like Paul’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.

        1. Bad politicians don’t get elected to the US House of Representatives 11 times. Crooks always seek out winning politicians.

      3. No, Benton married Paul’s granddaughter. He met her while running Paul’s 2008 campaign.

  4. Why are all Republicans so goddamn corrupt? All Dems do is fuck people who aren’t their wives.

    1. Yeah… No corrupt Democrats anywhere, Shrimp Boy.

    2. In fairness, I’m not sure if I should want Republicans to be less corrupt, on the theory that Reps could actually be a meaningful alternative to Dems, or if I should be happy that they’re just as corrupt as Dems, on the theory that their mutual corruption could create an opportunity for Libertarians.

      1. What Tony really means is that having huge piles of money and power lying around attracts the corruptible regardless of whether they have an R or D after their names, which is why we need to return to a system of government where most state power rests in local (and locally accountable) hands.

        Tony’s learned a lot by hanging around us libertarians.

    3. Yeah, Democrats only elect upstanding citizens like Rod Blagovich, Kwame Kilpatrick, Marion Berry and John Corzine.

      Good one, Tony.

      1. Or William Jefferson, Sandy Berger …….

      2. Or Charlie Rangel, or the entire government of Chicago.

        1. Wait, I almost forgot Leland Yee.

    4. How many consecutive Democrat Chicago mayors and Illinois governors have been sent to prison for corruption?

      Then there’s the various New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts political dynasties, including the Kennedys, going back to Father Joe making a pile from rum running during Prohibition.

      I gather Hawaii isn’t exactly squeaky clean either.

      I can’t think of very many Republicans anywhere near as blatant and systemic.

      1. Sorry, but something about Joe’s thumbing his nose at a bullshit law and making a little money at the same time speaks to me in a deeply profound way. What he did with his fortune, however, is pretty damned chilling.

        1. Yes, anyone who flouted Prohibition has my respect. But to use the proceeds to become a politician undoes it all.

    5. Please tell me that’s sarcasm. Please?

    6. And stash stacks of cash in their freezers? Or did you forget that one?

  5. The most horrifying part of the story is that Benton is only 36. He’s been trying to water down Ron Paul’s message for so long that I would’ve guessed he was at least in his mid 40s.

    This should spell the end of his career in politics, but it’s entirely possible he’ll start kicking around cable news to annoy me more openly and effectively. He certainly has the “charisma” for it.

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