Benton, former aide to Pauls, sentenced to two years' probation in federal bribery case

09/20/2016 05:53 PM

Aides on former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign were sentenced to probation on Tuesday, avoiding jail time for their parts in a plot to pay an Iowa state senator for his endorsement.

Jesse Benton, Paul’s campaign chairman in that race and a former political aide to Sen. Rand Paul and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and John Tate, Paul’s 2012 campaign manager, each received six months’ home confinement, two years’ probation and $10,000 in fines, according to The Des Moines Register.

The pair were among three on Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign who developed a plan to pay ex-Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson $73,000 for switching his allegiance to Paul from one of GOP presidential foes, former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Those payments were concealed in the campaign’s filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Benton, who works for the pro-Donald Trump super PAC Great America PAC and formerly for a super PAC supporting Rand Paul’s presidential run, told U.S. District Judge John Jarvey that the scandal had tainted his career in politics and that his family was forced to sell their home, according to the newspaper.

He said he had “always worked very, very hard to try to be a good person, a good man and walk a righteous path,” according to the report.

“It’s been years of sleepless nights and public humiliation, time and time again,” Benton said in court. “…The comfortable home that we always hoped to raise our children in, I don’t know if we’re going to have that.”

Demetri Kensari, Ron Paul’s former deputy campaign manager, is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday, The Des Moines Register reports.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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