Friday, August 29, 2014

Last Call For Uncle Jesse

Talk about your Labor Day weekend news dumps.

Mitch the Turtle's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, is resigning under a huge cloud of scandal.

Benton said he offered his resignation, effective Saturday, with a "heavy heart."

He maintained his innocence, faulting "inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors."

"This decision breaks my heart, but I know it is the right thing for Mitch, for Kentucky and for the country," Benton said.

Benton's name has surfaced in connection to a bribery scandal dating to his time as former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul's political director during the 2012 presidential election.

On Wednesday, former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson pleaded guilty to accepting $73,000 from Paul's campaign in exchange for his endorsement and to obstruction of justice for lying about his involvement.

Sorenson's guilty plea included two sealed documents, which could threaten to involve Benton.

In a statement provided first to the Herald-Leader, Benton said there "is no more important cause for both Kentucky, my new home I have come to love, and our country than electing Mitch McConnell Majority Leader of the United States Senate."

"I believe this deep in my bones, and I would never allow anything or anyone to get in the way," Benton wrote. "That includes myself."

Ron Paul's campaign was crooked as hell, and Benton ran that show in 2012.  Now it's caught up to him and everyone is wondering just how corrupt and rotten Benton's campaign for McConnell is.  And frankly, for all the "McConnell is too shrewd a political operator to lose to a neophyte like Grimes" conventional wisdom, hiring Benton turned out to be his biggest mistake so far of a campaign filled with missteps.

Oh, and let's not forget Benton started out running Rand Paul's campaign in 2010.  You have to wonder about just how many bodies Benton knows are buried.  Odds are he put them there.

Now McConnell has to spend the rest of the campaign explaining why his campaign manager was a crook, and why he hired him in the first place.  Hell, it might be enough to sink his campaign.

We'll see.  But I feel a lot better about Alison Grimes's chances now.

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