A criminal investigation inches closer to the inner circle of Rand Paul’s campaign:
In the meantime, Paul World has lawyered up. Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign has shelled out $364,000 in legal fees since August. Reached on his cellphone, Kesari said he wouldn’t comment and hung up; Benton and his lawyer did not respond to repeated interview requests. At least publicly, Rand Paul has said little to suggest he’s worried about the legal headaches that may ensnare Paul World fixtures. In December—before the Justice Department’s latest announcement but after emails showed Jesse Benton’s involvement in the Sorenson deal, prompting Benton’s resignation as Sen. Mitch McConnell’s 2014 campaign manager—Paul defended Benton to the Hill newspaper as an “honest” political operative who would be “welcome” on his 2016 team. “He’ll help us,” Paul said.
But as Rand Paul launches his presidential campaign, questions linger about how long his cadre of advisers and operatives will last under the merciless glare of the national stage. “They are in such a bubble in this Rand Paul universe, and I think the bubble’s going to pop real quick in the heat of the primaries,” says the conservative strategist familiar with the Pauls and their allies. “They are not ready for prime time.”