Republican Party members accused of organizing illegal contribution to Trump campaign

WASHINGTON, Sept.20 (Reuters) – US prosecutors on Monday unveiled criminal charges against two longtime Republican Party members, accusing them of illegally funneling a foreign contribution to former President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016 .

Jesse Benton and Doug Wead “conspired to illegally funnel thousands of dollars of foreign money from a Russian national into an election for the post of president of the states, unsealed indictment in District of Columbia federal court. United of America. “

US law prohibits foreign nationals from donating money to presidential campaigns.

According to the indictment, Benton and Wead helped a Russian national secure a ticket to a fundraiser with Trump in Pennsylvania in September 2016.

The Russian, who was not identified in the indictment, donated $ 25,000 to political action committees associated with Trump in order to attend the event, prosecutors said.

But the true source of the donation was withheld from the Trump campaign, according to the indictment, as the payment was secretly channeled by Benton, who acted as a “straw donor.”

Benton, 43, previously led campaigns for Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky before being sentenced for his role in a political support program. Benton avoided jail and received a presidential pardon in December 2020 from Trump.

Wead, 75, worked as a senior adviser on several presidential campaigns and ran for Congress as a Republican in 1992.

It was not yet clear whether the two had hired a lawyer.

Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Peter Cooney and Peter Cooney

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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