2016, 2016 election, FEC, foreign agent, illegal campaign contribution, indictment, Jesse Benton, Rand Paul, Rand Paul campaign director, Rand Paul grand nephew, Russia, Russia connections, Russian interference, Russian national, straw contributor, Ukraine, US Defense
Rand Paul’s former campaign director, who is also the son-in-law of his sister, was indicted in Sept. 2021 for laundering a campaign donation from a Russian citizen: “Benton ultimately filled out a contributor form, indicated that he was the contributor, and used a personal credit card to make a $25,000 contribution. Benton retained the remaining $75,000 of Foreign National 1’s money. Because Benton falsely claimed to have given the contribution himself, three different political committees unwittingly filed reports with the FEC that inaccurately reported Benton, rather than Foreign National 1, as the source of the funds.” https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/political-operatives-indicted-alleged-scheme-involving-illegal-campaign-contribution-2016
Currently Rand Paul is blocking a supplementary US Defense bill, which includes an IG oversight requirement, but he claims he is blocking it because he wants an IG oversight requirement. No one is calling him out on his deception. The bill allows the US to replace military materials already given to Ukraine, beef up US and NATO defense in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, help Ukrainian refugees (who are largely in NATO countries Poland and Romania), as well as help seize Russian assets. No one is explaining what the bill is about, either. It’s about US National security and European security-deterrence.
Will information on Rand Paul and Russia be exposed by the trial of his former campaign director and sister’s son-in-law?
This isn’t the only trouble that Benton’s been in: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Benton
This seems to have been an attempt for the Russian to get a picture with Donald Trump, so that people would say that Trump had his picture made with a Russian. This sort of encirclement of Trump (and even his son) by those with ties to Russia appears to have happened frequently, and looks like an attempt to either frame or influence Trump. Meanwhile, Benton and Wead donated $25,000 and kept $75,000.
“The defendants, JESSE R. BENTON (“BENTON”) and ROY DOUGLAS
“DOUG” WEAD (“WEAD”) conspired to illegally funnel thousands of dollars of foreign money from a Russian foreign national into an election for the Office of President of the United States of America. The defendants solicited contributions from the Russian foreign national and concealed the scheme from the candidate, federal regulators, and the public by secretly funneling foreign money from the Russian foreign national through BENTON, who acted as a straw donor ( also known as a “conduit” or “straw contributor”) by purporting to make a campaign contribution in his own name, rather than in the name of the Russian foreign national, who was the true source of the funds.” The defendants concealed the conspiracy by causing false entries to be made in reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”)…
WEAD and BENTON solicit and obtain $100,000 from Foreign National 1 to meet with Political Candidate 1 and Create a Fake Invoice to Disguise the True Purpose of the Money 28. On or about September 11, 2016, WEAD emailed Foreign National 2 suggesting that Foreign National 1 could meet Political Candidate 1 during Foreign National 1’s trip to the United States.
29. On or about September 12, 2016, WEAD and BENTON spoke twice on their cell phones for a total of approximately eight minutes.
30. On or about September 13, 2016, Foreign National 2 emailed WEAD: “Doug, isthere any news about [Political Candidate I]?” WEAD then responded to Foreign National 2: “My Source says yes it will happen but no details yet.”
31. On or about September 13, 2016, BENTON emailed Political Committee B:
I have a friend who spends most ofhis time in the Caribbean (must be nice right?), who has caught the [Political Candidate I] bug in a big way. [H]e wants to fl.yin for an event, hopefully near NY or DC, where he can attend a funder and get a photo. The □ photo is important to him. Is there anyway you might share a list of events where a photo might be possible? Ideally, he’d like to, come between 9/21 and 9/27 if at all possible.
32. On or about September 13, 2016, BENTON emailed Political Committee B and asked: “What would be the minimum giving level to be able to participate in a photoline at e[i]ther Greenwich (9/21), Philly (9/22) or NYC (9/29)? (not that that is all he’ll give, but he’ll ask me)” and “How do I RSVP when he has selected his event?”
33. On or about September 13, 2016, BENTON emailed Political Committee B and asked, “Is there a photo op in Philly or no?” Download Benton Wead Indictment
“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 20, 2021
Political Operatives Indicted for Alleged Scheme Involving Illegal Campaign Contribution to 2016 Presidential Campaign
An indictment was unsealed today in the District of Columbia charging a Kentucky man and a Florida man both with conspiracy to solicit and cause an illegal campaign contribution by a foreign national, effect a conduit contribution and cause false records to be filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and related substantive offenses.
According to court documents, Jesse R. Benton, 43, of Louisville, Kentucky, who previously worked as a campaign manager for two campaigns for U.S. Senate and one campaign for president, and Roy Douglas “Doug” Wead, 75, of Bonita Springs, Florida, who previously served as an advisor to multiple presidential campaigns, conspired together to solicit a political contribution from a Russian foreign national (Foreign National 1). As described in the indictment, Wead conveyed to Foreign National 1 that he could meet Political Candidate 1, a candidate for president during the 2016 election cycle, in exchange for a payment. Shortly after Foreign National 1 committed to transfer the funds, Benton reached out to individuals at Political Committee B, the national party committee for Political Candidate 1’s political party.
He then arranged for Foreign National 1 to attend a political fundraising event and get a photograph with Political Candidate 1, in exchange for a political contribution to Political Committee C, a joint fundraising committee comprised of the campaign committee for Political Candidate 1, Political Committee B, and related state committees. Foreign National 1 ultimately wired $100,000 to Company A, a political consulting firm owned by Benton. To disguise the true purpose of the transfer of funds, Wead and Benton created a fake invoice for “consulting services” and invented a cover story.
Wead and Foreign National 1 attended the political fundraising event for Political Candidate 1 on Sept. 22, 2016. Foreign National 2, who worked as a Russian/English translator for Wead, also attended. All three individuals had photographs taken at the event with Political Candidate 1. Following the event, Benton repeatedly represented to a consultant working for Political Committee B and Political Committee C that he had already sent the promised contribution for the event, but in actuality he delayed sending the contribution.
Benton ultimately filled out a contributor form, indicated that he was the contributor, and used a personal credit card to make a $25,000 contribution. Benton retained the remaining $75,000 of Foreign National 1’s money. Because Benton falsely claimed to have given the contribution himself, three different political committees unwittingly filed reports with the FEC that inaccurately reported Benton, rather than Foreign National 1, as the source of the funds.
Benton and Wead are both charged with one count of conspiracy to solicit and cause an illegal campaign contribution by a foreign national, effect a conduit contribution, and cause false records to be filed with the FEC, one count of contribution by a foreign national, one count of contribution in the name of another and three counts of making false entries in an official record. The defendants made their initial court appearance today before U.S.
Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. If convicted, Benton and Wead face a range of maximum penalties from five to 20 years in prison, per count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI’s San Diego Field Office is investigating the case.
Trial Attorneys Rebecca G. Ross and Michelle K. Parikh of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle L. Wasserman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Download Benton Wead Indictment
Criminal – Public Integrity Section
USAO – District of Columbia
Press Release Number:
Updated September 21, 2021 https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/political-operatives-indicted-alleged-scheme-involving-illegal-campaign-contribution-2016
Food for thought as Rand Paul, blocks a US Defense bill which has more to do with US-NATO defense against Russia, than Ukraine per se. The bill allows the US to replace military materials already given to Ukraine, beef up US and NATO defense in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, help Ukrainian refugees (who are largely in NATO countries Poland and Romania), as well as help seize Russian assets. Don’t just look at the title, look at the final bill: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/7691/text and the summary, which may or may not be the final: https://appropriations.house.gov/sites/democrats.appropriations.house.gov/files/Additional%20Ukraine%20Suplemental%20Appropriations%20Act%20Summary.pdf