Jessie Benton Trump Convicted

Former Trump Staffer Jessie Benton Convicted of Giving Russian Money to Trump Campaign

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A former Trump staffor and fomer senior aide to Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was convicted this past Thursday after being found guilty of helping to funnel illegal foreign campaign contributions from a Russian national into former President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. According to court documents, Jessie Benton, 45, orchestrated a scheme to conceal the illegal foreign donation with another GOP operative, per the Justice Department. For his roll in aiding Donald Trump’s campaign with Russia contributions Jessie Benton Faces up to 20 years in prison.

In 2007, Benton joined Ron Paul’s presidential campaign as a spokesperson. He subsequently worked on two congressional campaigns and a 2012 presidential campaign for Paul, as well as for Paul’s leadership PAC, Liberty PAC, and Paul’s 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, the Campaign for Liberty. Between running the presidential campaigns for Ron Paul, Benton served as the manager for Rand Paul’s 2010 campaign for the Senate, pledging “to help Rand Paul focus on Kentucky.” Jessie Benton is the husband of Rand Paul’s niece. In September 2012, Benton became the campaign manager for Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) 2014 re-election. Hiring Benton was initially seen as a move “to head off any tea party insurgency and Democratic challenge.” Speaking of his move to McConnell’s campaign, Benton told Business Insider: “Where I believe I can make a difference is to help bring the voice of the Liberty Movement and the voice of the Tea Party into a governing coalition.”


This is not Jessie Benton’s first time violating campaign finance laws

In August 2014, Benton resigned his position as campaign manager for McConnell after former Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson “pleaded guilty to charges of accepting money to change his endorsement in 2012 from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul.” Jessie Benton, who ran the 2012 Ron Paul campaign, resigned from McConnell’s campaign because of potential distractions. The Washington Post reported: “It is unclear if he knew about payments made to Sorenson, but emails published last year indicate he was involved in efforts to get him to defect from the Bachmann campaign.” On August 5, 2015, after a multi-year investigation, the Justice Department charged Benton with “conspiracy, obstructing an investigation, submitting false campaign finance reports to the Federal Election Commission and making false statements to the FBI.” Two other political operatives—Dmitri Kesari and John Tate—were also charged.

On May 5, 2016, Benton was convicted of violating multiple campaign finance laws in connection with the Sorensen payments. According to CBS News, Benton was convicted “of conspiracy, causing false campaign contribution reports to be filed to the Federal Election Commission and participating in a false statement scheme” in addition to a conviction on “causing the campaign to file false records of the payments.” Benton was sentenced to two years of probation and six months of home confinement on September 20, 2016.


Despite Jessie Benton’s lengthy campaign law violation history, he was tasked with helping to elect former president, Donald Trump. Trump Pardoned Jessie Benton for the aforementioned crimes before leaving office. In a March 18, 2016, Politico piece, Benton was reported as stating the following about Trump being the Republican nominee:

“Donald Trump is our nominee, and Republicans can and must embrace this reality. The naysayers and contrarians need to stop tearing our party down. There is a burgeoning movement around Donald Trump, bringing new people and energy into the GOP, expanding our electoral map and, most importantly, beating Hillary Clinton with independents.”


So What Did Jessie Benton Do?

With the knowledge of Jessie Benton, the Russian national wired $100,000 to Benton’s political consulting firm to make an illegal foreign contribution. Jessie Benton kept $75,000 and gave $25,000 to the Trump campaign, falsely stating he was the donor. Federal prosecutors say Jessie Benton arranged for the Russian national to attend a political fundraising event for Trump’s campaign and take a photo with Trump. In 2019, Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, who was investigating Russian collusion into the Trump Campaign, stated that his final report “did not exonerate Donald Trump.” Jessie Benton is from Louisville, Kentucky.

About Post Author

dericlostutter

Deric Lostutter is a blogger, media personality, paralegal, aspiring lawyer, law student, and formerly incarcerated political activist living in Kentucky with his wife and child.

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