WASHINGTON -- Three former staffers for the 2012 presidential campaign of then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) -- including one who currently heads the super PAC of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ron Paul's son -- were indicted on Wednesday. The three allegedly engaged in a conspiracy to conceal payments made to an Iowa state senator in exchange for his support of the elder Paul's campaign, according to prosecutors.
The three former staffers -- Jesse Benton, John Tate and Dimitrios Kesari -- have been charged with "conspiracy, causing false records to obstruct a contemplated investigation, causing the submission of false campaign expenditure reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and engaging in a scheme to make false statements to the FEC," according to the Justice Department. Benton is also charged with making a false statement to the FBI, while Kesari is charged with obstruction of justice.
The staffers allegedly negotiated with Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson (R) -- who had been supporting the presidential campaign of then-Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) -- to switch over and back Ron Paul's campaign instead. The payments totaled $70,000, and were allegedly made in monthly installments of about $8,000 each. Federal prosecutors allege that the payments were hidden as audiovisual expenditures.
"I am not splitting hairs: Sorenson was not getting paid off," Benton allegedly told the FBI in July 2014. Federal prosecutors say that was a lie.
Benton, now the head of Rand Paul's super PAC, was also at one point the campaign manager of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
A spokeswoman for Rand Paul's super PAC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Read the indictment below.
This is a developing story and will be updated.