The saga of Republican consultant Jesse Benton’s legal troubles have another chapter playing out on the national stage with a new federal indictment revealed this week.
Benton, who as an ally of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s 2014 U.S. Senate campaign manager, was charged federally for an alleged 2016 campaign scheme routing money from a Russian national to the campaign of then candidate Donald Trump.
According to the indictment unsealed on Monday, Benton and conservative author Roy Douglas Wead solicited a campaign donation from a Russian national for Trump’s 2016 bid for the White House. Benton and Wead took $100,000 from the Russian, but Benton only payed only $25,000 to support the campaign via a credit card. The indictment suggests, Benton falsified reports to conceal the foreign source of the money.
Benton and Mead pleaded not guilty to six felony charges in federal court.
This is not Benton’s first brush with the federal legal system connected to campaign activity. Benton and another man were convicted of multiple federal felonies connected to a bribery plot during the 2012 presidential election. The two were convicted in 2016 for paying an Iowa state Senator to switch an endorsement to then Congressman Ron Paul during the early presidential primary.
President Trump granted a full pardon to Benton at the urging of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul after the 2016 conviction. Benton is married to Ron Paul’s neice, and lives in Kentucky.