Friday, October 24, 2014

UNREAL McConnell Paid Jesse Benton More Than $500K

WaPo is out with a story on some amazing disclosures on the payments made by Mitch McConnell to Rand Paul's nephew (through marriage), Jesse Benton, which  included payments to Benton after he resigned from the McConnell campaign. Here's Sean Sullivan at WaPo:
When Jesse Benton signed up to manage the reelection campaign of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), it was seen as a win-win. Good for McConnell, who needed help broadening his appeal in the tea party. Good for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who needed a boost in the establishment.
Turns out it was good for Benton, too. At least, financially speaking.
A review of campaign finance records shows Benton made more than $500,000 working for McConnell from the beginning of 2013 through the end of last month. The former top Ron Paul and Rand Paul strategist made most of his money from McConnell's campaign. The rest came from work he did for McConnell's leadership PAC.
McConnell's campaign paid Benton's consulting firm more than $402,000 during the last 21 months for strategy consulting and research, records show. That's substantially more than a typical Senate campaign manager takes home in salary in a comparable period.
As liberal blogger Joe Sonka, who dug into the numbers earlier this week, pointed out, McConnell's campaign paid Benton's firm days after he resigned this summer. Benton, as Sonka noted, has also been paid by the Kentucky Republican Party.
To put Benton's compensation into further perspective:
-- It's more than double McConnell's annual $193,400 Senate salary.
-- It's more than double what President Obama campaign manager Jim Messina made in 2012.
-- It's more than Obama's annual $400,000 salary...
McConnell started the 2014 election cycle facing the prospect of a tough primary. The tea party was eager to unseat him. So he tapped Benton's deep ties to the tea party movement to help navigate the rough waters.
It worked out. Rand Paul -- eyeing a 2016 White House bid and on the lookout for new allies -- endorsed McConnell.

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