A consultant for a Donald Trump super PAC admits in newly revealed video footage that brazenly deceptive ads targeting black voters are part of a “voter suppression” campaign.
Jesse Benton, who described himself as a consultant to the Great America PAC, spoke to undercover reporters from The Telegraph, where he revealed the scheme — along with the political group’s willingness to accept Chinese funding to help elect Trump.
Foreign nationals are prohibited by law from donating to U.S. federal elections.
Great America PAC began airing radio ads earlier this month in eight key battleground states — including Florida and Ohio — that uses several out-of-context quotes by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to suggest the Democrats are deceiving black voters.
Benton, who took a reduced role in the PAC after he was convicted in May of buying a senator’s endorsement while working for Ron Paul in the 2012 election, told the undercover reporters how he hoped the ads and other schemes would drive down voter turnout among likely Hillary Clinton supporters.
“In Cleveland, if we can return Hillary to normal turnout levels … we can turn her to regular turnout levels she’s gonna lose about 60,000 votes in that area – that’s dead heat,” Benton said in the video, recorded Oct. 13 at a New York hotel. “So we have a voter suppression campaign quite frankly, targeting African-Americans, and sort of suburban moms, just bad stuff about Hillary, just trying to take their taste for her away.”
He admitted the Great America PAC hoped to reduce turnout by at least 2 percent among likely Clinton voters and then hoped rural white voters would push Trump to victory.
“Then in southeastern Ohio, there are about 19 counties where it’s just — you know, counties, you guys have counties in England — it’s just run up the score, run up the score, run up the score,” Benton said. “And we think we are on our way there. Pennsylvania has a similar story.”
A spokesman said earlier this week that the Trump campaign had publicly disavowed Great America PAC, which accidentally released the personal information of hundreds of donors last month.
But the candidate’s son, Eric, spoke last month at a Great America PAC fundraiser held at the Trump Tower, and campaign surrogate Rudy Giuliani appeared in a TV ad produced by the group.