Ron Paul’s 2012 aide avoids prison for campaign violations

Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, listens as campaign chairman Jesse Benton has a word with him as he signs autographs at the Cass County Community Center in Atlantic, Iowa, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, listens as campaign chairman Jesse Benton has a word with him as he signs autographs at the Cass County Community Center in Atlantic, Iowa, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The chairman of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign has been sentenced to two years’ probation and six months of home confinement, avoiding prison for conspiring to cover up campaign payments to a former Iowa state senator.

Jesse Benton was convicted of conspiracy and three charges related to false campaign reporting. He was sentenced Tuesday.

The campaign’s manager John Tate and deputy manager Dimitri Kesari also were convicted. Tate also was scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday. Kesari’s sentencing is set for Wednesday morning.

The men have argued they broke no laws when they paid $73,000 to former Sen. Kent Sorenson, who endorsed Paul six days before the 2012 Iowa caucuses.

Prosecutors say the scheme became illegal when the men tried to hide the payment in federal campaign financial disclosure reports.

Appeals of their convictions are expected.

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