consultants are sandburs

Sunday, May 08, 2016

A headline/story which causes confusion with the Trump self-financing, no-PAC promising he's done: Talk Media News, Sunday, May 8, headline, "Trump super PAC strategist convicted for hiding bribe."

This link, this excerpting, (where earlier Crabgrass posting from the past noted Iowa electioneering between the Bachmann presidential campaign and the Ron Paul campaign - those campaigns had dueling bids in for a gentleman holding an Iowa legislative office named Sorenson who in a strangely timed way switched allegience):

A federal jury in Des Moines, Iowa convicted a top staffer for a Super PAC supporting Donald Trump Thursday over charges that he concealed a bribe to a State Senator during Ron Paul’s 2012 Presidential bid.

Jesse Benton, the chief strategist for Great America PAC, was convicted of conspiracy, causing false records to obstruct a contemplated investigation, engaging in a scheme to make false statements to the FEC and causing the submission of false campaign expenditure reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Benton served as campaign chair for Paul. Fellow 2012 staffers John Tate and Dimitrios Kesari, Paul’s campaign manager and deputy manager respectively, have been convicted on the same charges.

Chief Judge John A. Jarvey of the Southern District of Iowa has not yet sentenced the three.

The three aides paid over $70,000 in campaign funds to Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson in exchange for him switching his endorsement from then-Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to Paul, according to prosecutors.

[...] Following the 2012 campaign, Benton was the campaign manager for Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) 2014 reelection bid. Benton quit after allegations of the concealed bribe were made public.

Great America PAC has spent $1,239,937 in the 2016 election cycle according to the latest filing reports.

Those Republicans. There they go again.

The report does not connect Trump to the PAC beyond alleging it is supporting Trump. More interesting, if out bidding Bachmann for the Sorenson support was a bribe, as reported, what were the Bachmann payments to Sorenson prior to his switching loyalty?

Answer: Unprosecuted.

We can speculate beyond that; but that is fact.

UPDATE: The report says, "convicted of conspiracy, causing false records to obstruct a contemplated investigation, engaging in a scheme to make false statements to the FEC and causing the submission of false campaign expenditure reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC)." Use of the word "bribe" in reporting may be editorializing; in that the Bachmann campaign had been paying Sorenson with no false reporting prosecution filed against Andy Parrish or other Bachmann staffers. It was Parrish who by affidavit publicized the Sorenson switch. Might there have been a plea deal? Or some missing element(s) of the criminal statute(s) under which Benton et al. were convicted?

Devils are in details; and reporting avoids some details.

FURTHER UPDATE: Des Moines Register reporting of Benton conviction, here. Benton is alleged to be resigning from the particular PAC headlined by the other report.

FURTHER: Reader thought experiment. Does this Benton/PAC thing, as a practical matter, take Rand Paul out of the running for a Trump VP nod? At the time Rand Paul suspended his presidential campaign reporting was he would focus on retaining his Senate seat. With the Senate term expiring this election, that alone might discourage Rand Paul from accepting a VP nod.

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