WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Three men who worked on the 2012 presidential campaign of former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul were charged on Wednesday with concealing payments to an Iowa state senator who switched his endorsement to Paul.
The U.S. Justice Department said Jesse Benton, 37, of Louisville, Kentucky; John Tate, 53, of Warrenton, Virginia; and Dimitrios Kesari, 49, of Leesburg, Virginia; were charged with conspiracy in making false statements to the Federal Election Committee. Benton is also charged with making false statements to the FBI and Kesari is also accused of obstruction of justice.
Kent Sorenson, a Republican former state senator in Iowa, had been chairman of Michele Bachmann's Iowa campaign in 2011 but in December of that year switched his support to Paul shortly before Iowa's key caucuses. Both Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas, and Bachmann, then a U.S. representative from Minnesota, were seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Sorenson, who has pleaded guilty to related charges, was given more than $70,000 in concealed payments, the Justice Department said.
(Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)