- Associated Press - Friday, August 7, 2015
Indictment reverberates in national, Kentucky campaigns

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The indictment of Republican strategist Jesse Benton on charges of conspiring to buy support for Ron Paul in the 2012 presidential campaign reverberated Thursday from Rand Paul’s bid for the White House to a Kentucky campaign for auditor.

Benton and some other top aides to Ron Paul’s presidential campaign were charged Wednesday with conspiring to buy the support of a key Iowa lawmaker in the days leading up to that state’s 2012 caucuses.

Benton managed Rand Paul’s successful U.S. Senate campaign in Kentucky in 2010. Rand Paul is Ron Paul’s son.

Hours before he was to participate in the first debate of the 2016 campaign for the White House, the younger Paul questioned the timing of the indictment, according to WBKO-TV of Bowling Green, Kentucky, Rand Paul’s hometown.

“We kind of think it’s a little suspicious that President Obama’s administration is bringing this forward in the middle of a presidential debate and probably unfortunate that they chose to do it in a political way,” Paul told the station.

Benton, who has strong tea party ties, said Thursday he is taking a leave of absence from America’s Liberty, a super PAC supporting Rand Paul’s presidential run. Benton said in an email that he “will return soon when I am exonerated.”


Kentucky’s 1st GOP presidential caucus would be March 5

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky’s proposed Republican presidential caucus would be March 5 and candidates would only need 5 percent of the vote to qualify for delegates as the state seeks to woo the large field of contenders and their millions of dollars amid Rand Paul’s sluggish campaign.

State party leaders agreed to switch the state’s format from a primary to a caucus so that Paul could run for president and re-election to his U.S. Senate seat at the same time without violating a state law banning candidates from appearing on the ballot twice. Paul, once seen as a leading candidate for the nomination, has struggled to gain a foothold in a field of 17 candidates while dealing with the fallout from the indictment of a close confidant and leader of his powerful Super PAC.

However, Paul did qualify for the first Republican presidential debate in Cleveland on Thursday night, giving him national exposure with six months left before the Iowa caucuses.

The state party’s central committee is scheduled to vote on the new rules Aug. 22. Committee members are already reviewing the proposal.

“Rand Paul might have been the impetus for getting the ball rolling, but if most members … are going to vote for it it’s going to be with the eye of making us relevant,” said Scott Lasley, chairman of the special state party committee that wrote the proposed caucus rules. “If Rand Paul is 8th or 9th in the polls come December, I think that encourages even more participation.”

By moving the caucus to early March, it ensures delegates would be awarded proportionally instead of a winner-take-all format. The proposed rules say candidates would need just 5 percent of the vote to qualify for delegates.


Judge dismisses wrongful death lawsuit against attorney

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (AP) - A state judge has dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging an eastern Kentucky attorney contributed to a man’s suicide after he lost his federal disability benefits.

WYMT-TV reports (https://bit.ly/1EbXgRThttps://bit.ly/1EbXgRT ) Floyd County Circuit Judge Thomas Smith dismissed the case last Friday. Emma Burchett sued attorney Eric Conn because her husband, Leroy, killed himself after receiving a letter that his federal disability benefits had been suspended. The letter was sent to more than 1,000 of Conn’s clients.

The Social Security Administration later temporarily reinstated those benefits. Smith ruled that because Emma Burchett testified she could not have foreseen her husband’s suicide that Conn could not have foreseen it either.

“This is a big victory, but it’s not a surprising one,” said Conn’s attorney, Kent Wicker. “We’ve heard a lot of noise over the last few months, but as these cases and allegations get examined, they’re all coming out in Mr. Conn’s favor.”

Burchett’s attorney, Ned Pillersdorf, disagreed with the ruling and said he plans to appeal.

“I think the judge is totally legally wrong,” he said. “If this ruling stands, you can never sue anyone for a wrongful suicide.”


Washington correspondent named to lead Capital News Service

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - James Carroll, former Washington bureau chief for the Louisville Courier-Journal, has been named Washington bureau chief of Capital News Service.

The Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland announced Carroll’s selection Thursday. Capital News Service is Merrill College’s daily news service.

Carroll worked for the Courier-Journal for more than 17 years. Earlier, he worked for the Long Beach Press-Telegram/Knight-Ridder Newspapers Washington bureau, the Orange County Register, the Boston Globe and WEEI/CBS Radio in Boston.

Carroll has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in urban affairs, both from Boston University.

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