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Indicted Political Operative Jesse Benton Resigns from Paul, Harmon Campaigns

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Ahead of Thursday night's Republican presidential debate, a top ally to U.S. Senator Rand Paul has announced he’s taking a leave of absence from Paul's super PAC. 

Jesse Benton, who headed America's Liberty, is under federal indictment for his alleged role in a bribery scheme. 

Benton’s indictment has implications in a statewide race in Kentucky.   Benton was serving as campaign manager for Mike Harmon, the Republican nominee for State Auditor.  Harmon is a state representative from Danville who is challenging incumbent State Auditor Adam Edelen. 

In a statement issued to WKU Public Radio, Harmon said while he knew of the accusations against Benton before he hired him, he did not expect Benton to be indicted. 

Representative Harmon said keeping him on the campaign would only serve as a distraction, so he asked Benton to resign. 

"Jesse has agreed to step completely away from the campaign until such time he can fully resolve this issue," stated Harmon.  "I wish Jesse the best of luck both for this issue and his future.  We will certainly keep him in our prayers."

Benton is charged conspiring to buy the support of a former Iowa state senator during Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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