GOP operatives accused of funneling Russian cash to Trump
A former senior aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul was indicted this month for allegedly funneling $25,000 from a wealthy, unnamed Russian to former President Trump's reelection efforts.
The big picture: The Justice Department alleges that Jesse Benton, 43, the husband of Paul's niece and a veteran Republican staffer, orchestrated a scheme to conceal the illegal foreign donation with another GOP operative, Doug Wead.
The details: The indictment, unsealed on Monday, outlines allegations of a convoluted money trail from the unnamed Russian national through a consulting firm run by Benton and to a Trump joint fundraising committee.
- The Russian national was determined to underwrite a Trump fundraising event in order to get a photo with the former president, according to communications between Benton and Wead cited in the indictment.
- The indictment alleges that Benton received $100,000 from the Russian national and passed on $25,000 to the joint fundraising committee, allegedly pocketing the remaining $75,000.
- Wead and Benton each face six criminal charges, including conspiracy and abetting illegal foreign political contributions.
For the record: Efforts to reach Wead were not immediately successful. Benton did not immediately respond to requests for comment.