Three Ron Paul staffers from the 2012 election have been convicted of bribing an Iowa politician in exchange for his endorsement. The three paid out $73,125 to be funneled to Kent Leroy Sorenson and Sorenson endorsed Paul, even though he had previously endorsed Michele Bachmann. At the time, Bachmann had accused Sorenson and the Paul camp of shady dealings. This conviction of the three is vindication for Bachmann, who was ridiculed for her accusations.
Campaign chairman Jesse R. Benton, campaign manager John M. Tate and deputy manager Dimitrios N. Kesari were all found guilty of making the illicit payments and also for trying to cover them up. The payments passed through a couple of different hands in order to conceal the money going to Sorenson. Benton and Tate were also found guilty of knowingly misreporting the expenditures in it’s filing to the Federal Election Commission. (FEC)
An initial trial ended in mixed results. Jurors deadlocked on the other three charges Kesari had faced, and Benton was acquitted of the single count he faced.
Three charges against Benton and four charges against Tate were dismissed by a federal judge as a result of prosecutors’ wrongful use of evidence to secure grand jury indictments, the Des Moines Register reported.
All three men face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the charge of causing the campaign to file false records of the payments. The other three charges carry maximum prison sentences of five years each.
Sentencing dates for the men have not yet been set.
Sorenson pleaded guilty for crimes pertaining to the FEC reports in 2014, but has not yet been sentenced for that crime, almost two years after the conviction. Ron Paul was not charged and no evidence was produced that he knew about the payments.