Three former advisers for Ron Paul’s presidential campaign were indicted recently on campaign finance misappropriations. The advisers (including Jesse Benton who happens to be married to Rand Paul’s niece) apparently funneled funds to an Iowa senator in an effort to change his allegiance from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul.
Though the allegations against Jesse Benton and the others may be true (there has been no trial as of yet), the timing of these indictments by the Department of Justice (DOJ) are suspect, because they occurred right before the first primary debate.
Rand Paul stated to WBKO, “It’s kind of unusual for these campaign finance regulations, these accusations, to come down right at the day of a presidential debate. So, we kind of think it’s a little suspicious that President Obama’s administration is bringing this forward in the middle of a presidential debate and unfortunate that they chose to do it in a political way.”
Whether the DOJ was acting to embarrass Rand Paul or not, the arrests do seem suspicious. Since they had been apparently accumulating evidence for months, why couldn’t they have waited for a more appropriate time?
It is an old political ploy to use such dubious timing in order to embarrass a rival party candidate. The knowledge of former President Bush’s former marijuana use came out right before an election (the Friday night before as a matter of fact). These types of allegations are timed to cause the most damage to a candidate and eliminate any type of response the opponent can muster. Paul recognized the ploy, but seemed unfazed during the first debate.
In his statement, Paul recognized that there could have been an inappropriate use of funds but also acknowledged that:
“Campaign financial regulations are very complicated, and I’m sure the lawyers and accountants will figure it out sometime.” (RollCall)
He understands that the regulations are in place to create a fair playing ground, but he also realizes that there are political forces at play.
Whether these campaign finance allegations and arrests were timed to cause embarrassment for the Paul campaign or not, they will likely cause little more than a ripple as Rand Paul seeks the Republican presidential nomination. The Democrats have been using subterfuge against their opponents for years and everything is fair during a campaign. But the Democrats should not expect such a small wave to upset the Rand Paul for President boat. It would take a tsunami. What are your thoughts on Jesse Benton’s indictment? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter or Facebook.
(Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
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