The Department of Justice press release states,Republican PartyPolitical consultant Jesse Benton suspected of assistingRussiaCitizens Donate Money to Sponsor Former Pres.TrumpIn the 2016 election, he violated federal election contribution laws and was indicted by a federal jury on the 17th for all 6 counts.
Banton, 45, served as an aide to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and an aide to Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky before becoming a Republican political strategist.
According to court records, Banton, along with another political consultant, helped a Russian national fund the 2016 Trump campaign, allowing the Russian national to attend a corporate roundtable event hosted by the Trump campaign and meet and photograph Trump. Got permission to take
The Ministry of Justice press release explained that the Russian national paid 100,000 yuan to a political consulting company in Banton, due to the required entrance fee to participate in election fundraising activities. The fact is that the money that flowed into the Trump campaign violated federal election contribution laws.
An investigation by federal prosecutors found that Banton personally donated $25,000 to the Trump campaign in September 2016 and the remaining $75,000 in the form of Republican National Committee (RNC) election event tickets. Yuan fell into the pocket.
US federal law prevents foreign money from flowing into federal and state elections. Banton was indicted on six counts, including providing false information to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and illegally raising campaign funds from foreigners. The San Diego office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is involved in the investigation of the case.
After Banton is indicted by a federal jury on the 17th, a federal court is due to announce his sentence on February 17 next year, which could carry a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Banton was involved in another election donation offense, which was pardoned in 2020 by then-President Trump. However, a few months later, Banton was indicted by federal prosecutors on six counts of assisting the Russians in providing election funding to Trump.
The Washington Post reported that Banton acted as a “white glove” to fund Trump’s 2016 campaign by Russian citizen Roman Vasilenko. Vasilenko was a Russian naval officer who later ran a variety of marketing businesses. Russian business daily (Kommersant) reported that Vasilenko was suspected of involvement in a financial investment scam commonly known as a “pyramid scheme” and was under investigation in Russia.
Vasilenko once posted a picture with Trump on Instagram, captioning it “Two Presidents”, and used the picture as a promotion for his company.
Brian Stolger, Banton’s defense attorney, said that Banton maintained his innocence and would appeal.