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Jesse Benton, Sen. Mitch McConnell Campaign Manager, Steps Down Amid Scandal

First Posted: Sep 01, 2014 03:28 PM EDT
Senator Mitch McConnell

Photo : Wikimedia Commons

Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, resigned from his position Friday, amid a scandal involving Benton's ties to the 2012 Ron Paul presidential campaign.

"With a heavy heart, I offered Sen. McConnell my resignation this afternoon and he reluctantly accepted," Benton said in a statement issued by McConnell's campaign, according to CNN. "Effective Saturday, Aug. 30, I will no longer be the 'Team Mitch' campaign manager."

Brenton stepped down while Sen. McConnell is facing a tight race against Kentucky's Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes Kentucky in the 2014 Midterm Elections.

Benton worked as Ron Paul's spokesman during Paul's unsuccessful 2012 presidential bid. However, former Iowa state Senator Kent Sorenson recently pleaded guilty to concealing $73,000 he was paid by Paul's camp to endorse him, reports Reuters.

Although he denies knowledge of the payment, he said in his statement that he would not "allow any possibility that my circumstances will effect the voters' ability to hear (McConnell's) message and assess his record."

He said, "There have been inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors about me and my role in past campaigns that are politically motivated, unfair and, most importantly, untrue.

"However, what is most troubling to me is that they risk unfairly undermining and becoming a distraction to this reelection campaign," referring to McConnell's campaign.

Last week, The Nation released audio of Sen. McConnell speaking in June at a convention convened by the billionaire Koch Brothers and other right-wing millionaire and billionaire political activists.

In the tape, McConnell promised not waste time on things like increasing the minimum wage and instead fight to repeal Wall Street reforms, environmental protections and Obamacare. He also stressed how important it is for the GOP to win the Senate in November. In addition, he threatened to shut down the government, despite his pledge last October not to hold the government hostage again.

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