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Looks like Senate Minority Leader and Supreme Chelonian Overlord Mitch McConnell is going to have to find himself a new campaign manager after thesudden resignation of Jesse Benton, who will now have more time to hold his nose and wait for Rand Paul to snap him up for 2016. It might be a long wait, what with the guilty plea last week by Ken Sorenson, a former Iowa state senator who admitted taking bribes to switch his endorsement from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul shortly before the Iowa caucuses in 2012. What the what? How is bribery in the Iowa caucuses two years ago connected to Yertle's Senate hopes? Let us connect ye olde dots for you!


On Wednesday, Sorenson, a bigwig in Iowa Republican circles, pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and obstruction of justice stemming from his accepting $73,000 from Paul's campaign to switch his loyalty from Bachman to Paul. And as Rachel Maddow notes, bribes don't just get taken without someone giving them. At the time, Jesse Benton was Ron Paul's campaign manager, and while Benton wasn't named in any of the court documents in the Sorenson case, the Lexington Herald-Leader notes that "Sorenson's guilty plea included two sealed documents, which could threaten to involve Benton." Further, last August, The Iowa Republican blog released a recording of a phone call in which Sorenson discussed the payments with Dennis Fusaro, who had worked on Paul's 2008 campaign. Fusaro recorded Sorenson acknowledging that he'd received a check from Demitri Kesari, who was working with the Paul 2012 campaign, and also recorded this epic bit of dialogue when Sorensen asked Fusaro if he thought Paul campaign insiders knew about the payments:

Sorenson: Who do you think knows?

Fusaro: All these guys are corrupt. Who do I think knows? Everyone you told. Everyone Dimitri told. And Dimitri.

Sorenson: Do you think the whole Ron Paul, like all of them know? I mean the inside group?

Fusaro: Sure, I’m sure Jesse Benton knows, he’s a scum…

Sorenson: Oh, I know that Jesse knows. I know Jesse knows.

Fusaro: He’s a scumbag.

Fusaro seems nice. Fusaro, of course, is also the cheerful little wrecking-ball who, in a different recording, caught Jesse Benton saying he was mostly working for McConnell's senate campaign this year as a way of biding his time until he could run Rand Paul's presidential campaign in 2016. In that memorable recording, Benton said he was just barely putting up with McConnell's old man stank:

“Between you and me, I’m sorta holding my nose for two years … ’cause what we’re doing here is gonna be a big benefit to Rand in ’16.”

And so late Friday, in the great tradition of pre-holiday-weekend news dumps, Benton was out, with a beautifully self-righteous press release in which he made it absolutely clear that he'd done nothing wrong but was leaving to save Mitch McConnell from the liberal media vultures:

There is no more important cause for both Kentucky, my new home I have come to love, and our country than electing Mitch McConnell Majority Leader of the United States Senate. I believe this deep in my bones, and I would never allow anything or anyone to get in the way.

That includes myself.

Recently, there have been inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors about me and my role in past campaigns that are politically motivated, unfair and, most importantly, untrue. I hope those who know me recognize that I strive to be a man of integrity.

The press accounts and rumors are particularly hurtful because they are false.

However, what is most troubling to me is that they risk unfairly undermining and becoming a distraction to this reelection campaign.

Working for Mitch McConnell is one of the great honors of my life. He is a friend, a mentor and a great man this commonwealth desperately needs. I cannot, and will not, allow any possibility that my circumstances will effect the voters’ ability to hear his message and assess his record.

Also, does that man ever smell like a turtle tank that hasn't been cleaned in weeks!

Benton proved that he is totally innocent by ending his resignation statement with a Bible verse, which is something that a dishonest bribey scumbag could never do, seeing as how an insincere use of Scripture would surely cause his head to burst into flames:

James 16:33

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Top o' the world, ma!

Mitch McConnell is reportedly wondering if he could borrow Barack Obama's time machine so he could go back to last August and fire Benton's ass instead of posting a cheerful Facebook photo of himself goofing around with a nose-holding Benton.

Also, too, here is Rachel Maddow doing her own inimitable dot-connecting in this gorgeous fuck-tussle, from Wednesday's segment on Sorenson's guilty plea: