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Fri Aug 29, 2014, 08:24 PM

Jesse Benton, Mitch McConnell's Campaign Manager, To Resign Amid Bribery Scandal

Jesse Benton, Mitch McConnell's Campaign Manager, To Resign Amid Bribery Scandal

by Andrew Hart at the Huffington Post



Jesse Benton, the campaign manager of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnnell (R-Ky.), is to resign his position, the Kentucky Herald-Leader reported Friday. The announcement comes as the McConnell campaign wrestles with Benton's possible ties to a bribery scandal when he was then former Rep. Ron Paul's (R-Texas.) political director during the 2012 presidential election. Benton told the Herald-Leader that rumors of his involvment in the scandal "risk unfairly undermining and becoming a distraction to this re-election campaign," as means to account for leaving his role with McConnell.

McConnell reluctantly accepted the announced departure, Benton told the Herald-Leader, adding "This decision breaks my heart, but I know it is the right thing for Mitch, for Kentucky and for the country." The resignation is to take effect Saturday.

As Paul's political director in 2012, Benton has been tied to the scandal that saw thousands of dollars exchanged for political endorsements prior to the 2012 presidential caucuses. On Wednesday, former Iowa state Senator Kent Sorenson pleaded guilty to charges in connection to receiving under-the-table payments for switching his backing from U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to Paul. Sorenson then lied to investigators about the payments, according to the Department of Justice. Sorenson's guilty plea was accompanied by two documents, which could potentially implicate Benton, the Herald-Leader notes.

Earlier on Friday, the McConnell campaign said in a statement, "Sen. McConnell obviously has nothing to do with the Iowa Presidential Caucus or this investigation so it would be inappropriate for his campaign to comment on this situation," the Herald-Leader reports.


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