Two Rand Paul allies indicted on campaign finance fraud charges

Two top allies of presidential candidate and US Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) were charged with violating campaign finance laws during the 2012 presidential campaign, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

Jesse Benton, who worked on the presidential bid of Paul’s father, Ron, was named as one of three political operatives in the alleged scheme to conceal payments to an Iowa state senator.

According to a National Journal report last April, Benton was tapped to run a Paul-sanctioned super PAC, America’s Liberty PAC, supporting the senator’s 2016 presidential bid. John Tate, who is listed as the group’s founder and president, was also named in the charges. The other operative named was Dimitrios Kesari.

The indictment was based on six counts, including conspiracy, filing false records, false statements, and obstruction of justice.

Though the indictment did not name which 2012 presidential candidate Benton, Tate, and Kesari worked on, there is little doubt that it is referring to former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), Rand Paul’s father and a former perennial presidential candidate.

Benton resigned as Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Kentucky) re-election campaign manager last year amid new revelations from the investigation. Former Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorensen (R) pleaded guilty to two federal charges last year and admitted that he had accepted payments from the campaigns of Ron Paul and former US Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) to secure his endorsement, according to The Washington Post.

At the time, according to The Washington Post, he said, “inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumours about me and my role in past campaigns that are politically motivated, unfair and, most importantly, untrue.”

Benton, Liberty PAC, and Rand Paul’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

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