Benton & Tate Indicted
Jesse Benton and John Tate have been indicted on charges of violating campaign finance laws during Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign. Benton, who is married to Paul’s granddaughter, was the chair of the campaign committee. Tate was the campaign manager. Both are now heading up America’s Liberty, a super PAC supporting Rand Paul’s 2016 bid for the White House. Also indicted was Dimitri Kesari, Deputy National Campaign Manager for the Ron Paul 2012 campaign.
The indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy, causing false records to obstruct a contemplated investigation and causing the submission of false campaign expenditure reports. It alleges they paid more than $70,000 to then-Iowa state senator Kent Sorenson in exchange for his support. The indictment accuses the men of concealing their payments from the Federal Election Commission and the FBI.
Sorenson pleaded guilty last August.
Branded by some as “Ron Paul Inc.” during the campaign, Benton and Tate were part of a small inner circle which many activists came to despise. Alienating such staunch supporters as Tom Woods, and Adam Kokesh, denigrating “truthers” and “ragamuffins”, and other senselessly divisive tactics became the trademarks of “Ron Paul Inc.”
For all their insistence that such compromises had to be made, so that Ron Paul might obtain the presidency, these strategies turned out to be a complete failure. For Benton, Tate, and their ilk, no compromise was too great if it meant obtaining that prize. If the prize had indeed been obtained, I might agree. But that’s not what happened. The compromises were made, the movement divided, and the Republican nomination went to Mitt Romney, who in turn lost to Barack Obama.
One might go so far as to say their actions pushed the greater libertarian movement towards explicit anarchism, and a rejection of electoral politics as a strategically sound plan for obtaining liberty and diminishing the State. If the political process proved so compromising and corrupt as to taint libertarian credentials as seemingly impeccable as Ron Paul’s, who else could possibly make it through that system with their soul intact? Certainly not Rand.
For this, I suppose we can say thanks.
In case it doesn’t go without saying, I think campaign finance laws are complete and utter nonsense. This indictment should not stand, and if there was an ounce of integrity in the Supreme Court, any law restricting spending on political speech would be struck down without any serious discussion. The notion that one may say what they please, but cannot spend money to have it heard, is something so pathologically ridiculous it could only come from a raving leftist. Trying to “get money out of politics” is like trying to get the wet out of water.
But the hard line anarchist in me can’t help but have a chuckle at the expense of Benton, Tate, and others who insist we must make compromises to work within the system, even as they commit felonies under the rules of that very system. Best of luck with that, gentlemen. If you can compromise with the courts half as well as you have compromised libertarianism, you might just make it out of this without compromising your anal virginity to your cellmate.
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