You know Dasher and Dancer and Roger and Kushner — but do you recall, the most consequential pardon of all?
President Trump has issued a flurry of late-term pardons in the lead-up to his departure from office, the most recent of which includes Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, and Charles Kushner, father of Jared Kushner. But two of the president's pardons this week have flown relatively under the radar, despite offering a potential glimpse into Trump's own future.
John Tate and Jesse Benton were two of 26 people granted clemency on Wednesday, receiving pardons for their 2016 convictions on campaign bribery charges. The two men, who were aides to former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, were found guilty of funneling $73,000 to a state senator in exchange for an endorsement of Paul during his 2012 presidential bid, The Des Moines Register reports. The payments were executed through a third-party vendor.
What Tate and Benton did, however, looks an awful lot like an LLC used by the Trump campaign to funnel non-FEC registered payments. The company was reportedly created in part by Jared Kushner, per Business Insider.
In the White House's official statement on the pardons, it said Tate and Benton were convicted based on an "unclear" and "not well established" campaign reporting law.
As the Center for Responsive Politics' Anna Massoglia points out, their conviction was one of few campaign finance cases "resulting in substantial consequences," and the pardoning of the two could send "a very specific message that it is okay to violate FEC ultimate vendor disclosure rules."