The campaign manager for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has resigned as a result of the ongoing scandal involving the 2012 presidential campaign of former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
Jesse Benton joined the McConnell campaign for the 2014 cycle, after several years as an important member of the political organizations of Ron Paul and his son, Kentucky’s other U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. Benton previously managed Rand Paul’s 2010 Senate campaign, and then served as political director for Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. In addition, he is married to one of Ron Paul’s granddaughters.
This past week, a former Iowa state senator pled guilty to accepting payments of $73,000, which were laundered by members of the Ron Paul campaign, to switch his endorsement away from Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and over to Paul. However, no individuals have actually been charged as of yet with making the payments.
For his own part, Benton is denying any allegations that he may have known about the payments. “I hope those who know me recognize that I strive to be a man of integrity,” Benton said in a statement. “The press accounts and rumors are particularly hurtful because they are false.”
Benton also said that the reelection of McConnell, who is in a close race against Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes, was the most important political cause for Kentucky and the country: “I believe this deep in my bones, and I would never allow anything or anyone to get in the way. That includes myself.”
– – Eric Kleefeld