Behind the scenes, McConnell’s campaign staff has tried selling journalists on the talking point that Benton wasn’t an important part of the campaign, and that his longtime aide Josh Holmes has been running the show. If that is true — and it might be — one has to ask why McConnell’s campaign committees and the Republican Party of Kentucky have paid Benton a salary of $458,000 for his work as campaign manager. In other words, explaining that you paid someone an extraordinary amount for a job that wasn’t very important is difficult when the person in question is at the center of a scandal where someone was bribed by a campaign for political support.In fact, if it's true that McConnell paid Benton a half-million dollars for what amounted to a no-show job in which his only responsibility was preventing tea partiers from dethroning the five-term senator, doesn't that sound an awful lot like a bribe, or at a minimum, pay-to-play?
I mean, in Benton's own words, he didn't like McConnell. He was just holding his nose—and getting a fat paycheck for doing so—until Rand Paul's 2016 presidential campaign. That actually raises another question: What promises, if any, did Mitch McConnell make to Rand Paul about 2016? Of course, now that Benton is gone, those promises are probably inoperative, which means not only is it questionable whether Benton will play any role in Paul's campaign, but it's almost certain that McConnell won't deliver whatever help that he promised to send Rand's way. That's the thing about making deals with liars and cheats: If they can break their word, they will.