A longtime ally of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican candidate for president, has been indicted on charges he bought support for Paul's father, Ron, during his 2012 presidential campaign.
According to USA Today,
Jesse Benton has been charged with violating federal campaign finance laws to the tune of $73,000 hidden from public view.
"Federal campaign finance laws are intended to ensure the integrity and transparency of the federal election process," Assistant U.S. Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said, reports USA Today. "When political operatives make under-the-table payments to buy an elected official, it undermines public confidence in our entire political system."
Benton allegedly paid Kent Sorenson, an Iowa state senator at the time, to change his support from Republican presidential candidate and former Rep. Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul ahead of the Iowa caucuses. Sorenson pleaded
guilty last year.
According to USA Today, former Ron Paul aides John M. Tate and Dimitros N. Kesari were also indicted.
Benton, 37, is married to Rand Paul's niece, reports Politico.
His firm, Titan Strategies, has done work for a Paul super PAC this year and has been paid a total of $63,000, according to USA Today.
Benton was managing Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign
last year but resigned from his post because of the federal investigation.
Rand Paul's presidential campaign has stalled somewhat, according to recent polls.
He raised just $7 million in the second quarter of this year, putting him far behind the other candidates in the race.
Paul was one of several lawmakers who urged the government to defund Planned Parenthood
in the wake of videos that have surfaced. A Senate vote to pass the GOP-led measure
fell short of passing on Monday.
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