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McConnell Campaign Manager: I'm 'Holding My Nose' Until Rand Paul Campaign (Updated)

"What we're doing here is going to be a big benefit for Rand in 2016."

12:58 PM, Aug 8, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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A man alleged to be the campaign manager for senator Mitch McConnell said earlier this year that he was "sort of holding [his] nose" to work for the Kentucky Republican for the next two years.

Was Rand Paul last night's big winner?

Economic Policy Journal has an audio recording of a January 2013 phone call purportedly between Dennis Fusaro of the Reformed Theological Seminary and Jesse Benton, the former spokesman for Ron Paul's presidential campaigns and currently campaign manager for McConnell. Benton, who is also married to Paul's granddaughter, apparently tells Fusaro that he is working for McConnell's campaign to help the other Kentucky senator, Rand Paul, in his 2016 presidential bid.

"Between you and me I'm sort of holding my nose for two years because what we're doing here is going to be a big benefit for Rand in 2016," the voice alleged to be Benton's says. "That's my long vision."

Fusaro seems to have initiated the call, recorded on January 9, to ask Benton about allegations that Ron Paul's deputy campaign manager had paid an Iowa state legislator to support the Paul presidential campaign. On the recording, Benton denies being involved in paying the legislator.

An email to Benton has not yet been returned.

Update: In a phone conversation, Fusaro confirms to THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the call is between himself and Benton. He says both he and Benton were in "one-party consent" states--meaning only one person on the phone is required to consent to a conversation being recorded.

Fusaro, a former Ron Paul campaign aide, says he waited six months to release the audio because he wanted Benton to "do the right thing" with regard to the allegations the Paul campaign paid Iowa state legislator Kent Sorenson.

"He's incapable of doing the right thing," said Fusaro.

Update II: McConnell campaign aide Allison Moore emails a statement from Benton:

"It is truly sick that someone would record a private phone conversation I had out of kindness and use it to try to hurt me. I believe in Senator McConnell and am 100 percent committed to his re-election. Being selected to lead his campaign is one of the great honors of my life and I look forward to victory in November of 2014."

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