Things aren’t looking good for Rand Paul. In the last six months, his status slipped among all Republican presidential candidates, placing fourth with 8.5 percent in February polls, but falling this month to seventh with only 4.5. To top off that negativity, two in charge of super PACs that are funding Paul’s race just got indicted for campaign violations.
Jesse Benton, director of America’s Liberty PAC, and John Tate, who heads Campaign for Liberty PAC, were indicted by a federal grand jury on August 5. Both are now charged with conspiracy and submission of false campaign expense reports, along with obstruction of the investigation of those charges.
The alleged violations don’t stem from Rand Paul’s 2016 campaign, but from that of his father, Ron Paul. Benton was chair of the former U.S. representative’s 2012 presidential bid and Tate was campaign manager. A third person from Ron Paul’s bid for the Oval Office – deputy campaign manager Dimitri Kesari – was also indicted on August 5. Benton is also married to the former Texas congressman’s granddaughter.
The U.S. Dept. of Justice says the three illegally paid an Iowa politician to endorse Ron Paul in that early primary state. State Sen. Kent Sorenson was chair of Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign in Iowa, but resigned in late December 2011, just six days before the primary caucus, after making public endorsement of Paul. After investigation by his state’s ethics committee, in August 2014 Sorenson pled guilty to receiving multiple payments, totaling $73,000, from Paul’s campaign – a bribery to achieve the endorsement switch.
How is 2016 candidate Rand Paul responding? It’s all President Obama’s fault, of course. Apparently the indictments only happened to taint the Kentucky senator’s performance in the August 6 Republican debate. Says his campaign:
Senator Rand Paul is disappointed that the Obama justice department chose to release this just prior to the highly anticipated first Republican presidential debate. It certainly appears suspiciously timed and possibly, politically motivated. Additionally, these actions are from 2012 and have nothing to do with our campaign.
So, at least in Dandy Randy’s opinion, the Justice Dept.’s records of the incident – which include details of payments by laundering methods, emails and recorded phone calls between Sorenson and the three Paul people, not to mention Sorenson’s guilty plea – aren’t the cause of these indictments. They’re all the president’s fault.
Hmmph. Thanks, Obama.
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr